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Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve welcomes critically endangered Sumatran orangutans Hadjah and Malou to wildlife park

Additional reporting by Abby Hook

A wildlife park has welcomed two critically endangered animals to its 600-acre reserve.

Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve near Hythe has recently acquired the Sumatran orangutans, brothers Hadjah and Malou, from Switzerland.

Hadjah, 16, and Malou, 11, were quarantined upon their initial arrival at the park due to having travelled from overseas, but they are now settling into their new enclosure.

The species is currently classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, with only around 14,000 Sumatran orangutans left in the wild.

The biggest cause of their dwindling numbers is habitat loss caused by the expansion of palm oil and acacia plantations.

Young orangutans are also highly valued as exotic pets in some parts of the world, although it is illegal to capture or keep them.

Simon Jeffery, animal director at Port Lympne, said: “We are so happy to offer Hadjah and Malou the sanctuary they deserve within our park and proud to be part of the conservation of this incredible species and hope visitors to the park will enjoy them as much as we enjoy caring for them.”

Bosses also say that they hope to eventually rewild the animals if they can.

The Sumatran orangutans are settling into their new home at Port Lympne Reserve
The Sumatran orangutans are settling into their new home at Port Lympne Reserve

Port Lympne is the only wildlife park in the South East to house this species of orangutans, and one of only three places in the UK where visitors can see them.

The arrival of the primates will also see the park launch two new animal experiences for visitors.

Meet the Great Apes is a behind-the-scenes look at both the orangutans and Port Lympne’s three groups of Western lowland gorillas at the Palace of the Apes enclosure.

This experience is available to book from Tuesday, March 6 and officially opens to the public on Tuesday, March 19.

There will also be a new Orangutan Encounter experience launching from Saturday, March 23 which visitors can book here.

Port Lympne and its partner park, Howletts Wild Animal Park in Bekesbourne, are also putting on some special offers and treats for Mother’s Day this weekend, including free entry and an afternoon tea.

You can find out more about Port Lympne’s 900 animals, safari tours and ticket information on the Aspinall Foundation website.

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