Endangered orangutan born in Indonesian zoo

A Borneo orangutan has been born at a zoo on Indonesia's main island of Java, providing a glimmer of hope for the endangered primates, a zookeeper said Monday.

Belia, a female, arrived on Saturday in the first successful birth of an orangutan at the zoo in Semarang, Central Java province.

The fourth orangutan at the zoo, she was born naturally to Bella, 18, and Billy, 20, zoo head Kusyanto, who goes by one name, told AFP. The couple had another baby in 2007 but it died an hour after being born.

"The baby is a girl, giving us hope that when she grows up, she could give birth to more of the endangered primates," Kusyanto said.

There are estimated to be 45,000-69,000 Borneo orangutans left in the wild. They are native to the vast island of Borneo, which is shared among Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

Destruction of Indonesia's lowland rainforest and peatlands to open the way for palm oil and agriculture has led to a dramatic decline in the numbers of orangutans, Asia's only great ape.