Mother orangutan walks a fine line
Published 20/04/2015 | 13:56
A fearless orangutan has been caught on camera as she walks a tightrope around 20ft from the ground.
Mali, 20, and her toddler Tatau had been climbing around in a cargo net on one of their islands at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in Devon.
The watchful mother effortlessly walked a tightrope to a spot where she could keep an eye on Tatau as her two-year-old explored alone.
Phil Knowling, spokesman for the zoo, said: "She seemed to balance quite effortlessly, using her long arms like an acrobat uses a pole. It was a quite amazing bit of skill.
"Upright walking on thin branches is very important for orangutans, as they need to get to the outer edges of tree crowns where fruit is found.
"Walking on four legs is very difficult on a thin branch, especially one that is bendy and moves beneath you."
The Bornean orangutan, which is classed as endangered, is threatened by hunting, the pet trade, and the destruction of its rainforest habitat to create commercial plantations to grow palm oil and other products.
Mali and Tatau are joined by females Gambira, Chinta and her baby Natalia at the zoo, which is a registered charity.