Thursday, 23 December 2010

Baby orangutan cruises to new home

A baby orangutan abandoned by his mum has cruised to a new home in comfort - in his own first class ferry cabin.

Silvestre - who celebrates his first birthday on New Year's Eve - dined on citrus fruit and milk as he made the 24-hour crossing to Portsmouth, Hants.

Brittany Ferries gave the nappy-wearing primate a private four-bed suite for the 690-mile trip aboard the Cap Finistere from Santander, Spain.

Silvestre spent most of his time exploring his surroundings and swinging from ladders and bunkbeds in his £150-a-night room. But he was also allowed to visit Captain Patrick Thomas on the bridge.

Keepers at Santillana Zoo, Spain, raised the Sumatran orangutan by hand for 11 months after his mum simply put him down and walked away. The keepers also accompanied him on his trip.

He is now starting a new life at Europe's only crèche for orphaned orangutans at Monkey World in Wareham, Dorset.

Brittany Ferries' Chris Jones said: "Silvestre spent most of the time swinging from the ladders and bunks. He's a lovely little orangutan - he just melts your heart.

"He had plenty of time to meet people who were keen to see him. We get a lot of unusual requests but it's the first time I know we've carried an orangutan."

Dr Alison Cronin, from Monkey World, said their objective was to help him grow into a "well-adjusted" adult ape alongside his other adopted brothers and sisters.

She said: "Silvestre travelled like a VIP and had a fantastic journey. He is a fluffy bundle of joy and has settled in well."

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