Saturday, December 18, 2010

King of the cabin: Abandoned baby orangutan's first class cruise to new home in Britain


First class: Sylvester the orphaned orangutan sailed 690 miles in a a £150 per night four bedroom private cabin

The stress of travelling can sometimes make you go ape. And when you’re a young orphan facing a daunting trip abroad a little luxury goes a long way.

Silvestre the orangutan was given his own first-class cabin as he headed to Britain to start a new life.

The tiny Sumatran ape, who was abandoned by his mother at birth in a Spanish zoo, is moving to Europe’s only creche for orphaned orangutans – Monkey World in Dorset.

Brittany Ferries gave the 11-month-old a private four-bed suite for the 24-hour trip aboard the Cap Finistere from Santander to Portsmouth.

He spent most of his time swinging from ladders and bunkbeds in his room, but he also had an opportunity to visit the ship’s bridge.

Silvestre was born at Santillana Zoo in Northern Spain, but after the birth his mother simply put him down and walked away. He was kept alive by zoo keepers who bottle-fed him milk.

Shipmates: Sylvester travelled with Maribel Bustiamente of Santillana Zoo in Spain

Monkey World director Dr Alison Cronin said: ‘Silvestre travelled like a VIP and had a fantastic journey. He is a fluffy bundle of joy.

'At a year old it is a perfect time for him to move in full-time with other orangutans where he can develop physically and mentally with his own kind.

'Santillana Zoo has done a wonderful job caring for him and we are pleased to be able to offer him a place in our nursery group.’

Sumatran orangutans are a critically-endagered species. It is estimated there are only 7,000 in the wild.

The journey: Silvestre went from Santillana Zoo to Santander, sailed to Portsmouth and was driven to Dorset

Brittany Ferries’ spokesman Chris Jones said: 'He’s a lovely little orangutan - he just melts your heart.

'Because he was so young and had been separated from his mother, he had to be near his keeper all the time he was travelling.

'We couldn’t put him out on deck so he used a normal passenger cabin.

'He was on board for 24 hours and treated like a normal passenger. He had plenty of time to meet people who were keen to see him.

'He went up and met some of the crew and had a really good time.

Captain's table: Silvestre enjoys a tour of the bridge with Monkey World's Jeremy Keeling

'We get a lot of unusual requests but it’s the first time I know we’ve carried an orangutan.'

Dr Cronin said Monkey World's objective was to help Silvestre grow into a 'well-adjusted' adult ape after his difficult introduction to life so far.

Orangutans have the longest childhood of the great apes and youngsters usually stay with their mothers for seven years.

Bedding in: Sylvester settles down in his new home at Monkey World, in Portsmouth

source: dailymail

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