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Chester Zoo announces surprise birth of critically endangered orangutan
The new arrival is the second born to mother Leia as part of an international breeding programme.

Keepers left stunned after pregnancy went undetected

A Bornean orangutan at Chester Zoo has given birth to a baby just months after returning multiple negative pregnancy tests.

Keepers say that the new arrival is ‘bright and alert’, is suckling well and has been developing as expected over the past few months. Mother Leia is incredibly protective of the infant and has kept it mostly hidden from staff since its birth in June.

Bornean orangutans are listed as critically endangered in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with only around 55,000 remaining on the Indonesian island.

The new arrival at Chester Zoo was born as part of an international breeding programme which is working to conserve the species.

Chris Yarwood, a primate keeper at the zoo, said: “The pregnancy tests we had carried out on Leia in the months prior to the birth had actually returned negative results. It was therefore a wonderful surprise to arrive one morning to see her protectively cradling a beautiful new arrival.

“Leia enjoys spending lots of time alone with her baby and has so far been quite shy about showing it off. She always keeps it really close to her and so we’ve not yet been able to clearly determine what the gender of the infant is. This is Leia’s second baby – she’s a great mum and is doing a fab job once again.”

Mr Yarwood explained that Chester Zoo cares for both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, and that babies from both sub-species have been born in recent years.

“It just goes to show that, despite all of the uncertainty in the world right now, life is carrying on as normal for the orangutans, which is really uplifting to see.”

Images (c) Chester Zoo.

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AWF Student Grant Scheme opens for applications

News Story 1
 The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is inviting applications to its 2021 Student Grant Scheme for innovative projects designed to impact animal welfare. The scheme welcomes proposals from undergraduates studying veterinary and animal welfare degrees, but students from other disciplines are also welcome to apply.

Grants will fund projects on animal welfare topics that are relevant to the veterinary profession and help develop the student's skills as a researcher. This year, the AWF is also accepting projects which are carried out alongside EMS so long as they are supervised. For more information and to apply, visit 

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Survey seeks views on keeping cows with calves

Researchers at Scotland's Rural College are seeking views from dairy farmers on keeping cows with calves.

Their study entitled 'Keeping Cow with Calf: bringing innovation to dairying in Scotland' aims to find out the motivations and reservations about operating a cow-with-calf dairy system.

The survey will help researchers build an evidence base and gauge what support farmers need to move to this practice. For more information, or to complete the survey, visit