Mollie's zoo helps the sad beautiful orphans; ORANG-UTANS FACE EXTINCTION IN TEN YEARS UNLESS ACTION IS TAKEN NOW.
A ZOO which breeds orang-utans is heading a campaign to help save orphaned apes which are being left to die in Indonesia.
Mollie Badham, who founded Twycross Zoo, is raising funds for a new conservation programme for the Sumatran orang-utan.
The breed, is the only great ape found in Asia and the sad-looking creatures are, by nature, elusive and solitary and inhabit inaccessible tropical rainforest.
But if they do not receive help soon, they face being declared extinct within the next ten years.
Swiss zoologist Regina Frey, who is leading the Sumatran orang-utan conservation programme, says she is delighted at the support she is receiving from the zoo. She added: "It will be a terrible tragedy if the orang-utans are not saved now.
"They survive in freedom only on Borneo and Sumatra, where human influx is rapidly destroying their habitat.
"Many apes have been captured, further devastating the population.
"For those orang-utans which do survive captivity, there are sanctuaries in Indonesia which offer rehabilitation and return to forest life but we need to raise funds for these places."
The Sumatran orang-utan population has been declining by 1,000 a year.
It is hoped that through the fund-raising efforts of Mollie Badham and Ms Frey, they will be able to work with other groups to reintroduce orang- utans to areas where no wild ape populations presently exist.
Ms Badham added: "Here at Twycross I have around 40 orang-utans and they are wonderful apes, with a great deal of character.
"It is very frightening to think that they might become extinct and I feel as a zoo keeper myself and as a great lover of the apes that we should do all we can to support the conservation programme."
LIVING IN HOPE: Mollie Badham (left) presents a cheque to Regina Frey to help save relatives of Beau, the orang-utan. Picture: ROBIN BIDGOOD