Monday, February 05, 2007

Lovelorn orang-utan puts out lonely hearts ad

orangutan love adKeepers at a British zoo have sent a lonely hearts advert to animal parks worldwide in a bid to find a mate for their lovelorn orang-utan.

Chinta is feeling gloomy after the latest deal to bring her a partner fell through at the last minute.

She has been without a mate for more than a year after her previous partner, Nakal, was taken to a Spanish zoo to breed with another female.

Staff at Paignton Zoo in Devon are now scouring the world looking for a replacement to keep the 16-year-old ape company on her island enclosure.

But numerous deals have fallen through, leaving the 6ft 5in orang-utan distinctly forlorn and broody.

Her frustration appeared to be at an end this week when officials brokered a deal to bring a male from Germany - but talks broke down at the last minute.

The lonely hearts ad calls for a "big, hairy, ginger male with terrific cheek pads with a view to starting a family and help save the species".

It has been sent to scores of animal parks in the hope that a suitable partner will sweep the "thoughtful and methodical" orang-utan off her hairy feet.

Phil Knowling, a spokesman for the zoo, said: "It's fair to say she hasn't had a fella for a while.

"Orang-utans aren't the most expressive of creatures because they don't have many face muscles.

"But even by their standards she looks down in the dumps. We have been looking for over a year now but the deals keep going wrong. We thought we had a signed contract with a German zoo but it isn't happening.

"She's the perfect breeding age and could live for another 20 years yet. But at the moment she has a whole island and only two females to share it with. A year without is enough to get to anybody and she's clearly not happy about it."

Story here.

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