Vicky’s eldest daughter, Cherie, was born on 9th April 1997, right here at Blackpool Zoo.
She has spent her entire life at Blackpool, aside from a 17 month stay at Chester Zoo while our new orangutan house was built in 2014.
Her name was chosen by a local school, who pledged to name our new arrival after whoever won their mock general election, hoping the little orange bundle of fluff to take on the name of England’s future prime minister. However, when our tiny ape turned out to be a girl, she was named after the wife of their election victor, and was named after Cherie Blair.
Cherie’s father was known to us as Homer, although his official record has his name recorded as Zowie. Homer was born in 1988 at Dudley Zoo, and came to Blackpool in 1990, where he remained until his death in 2002. Homer lived for a long time with Vicky and her full sister, Halley. He sadly passed away just two days after Halley, and it has been rumoured he may have died of a broken heart (the official conclusion was cardiac failure). Homer’s parents were both at Dudley, and if such relationships existed in orangutan societies, Homer and Vicky would be step siblings, as both of their mothers at one point mated with a male named Joe.
Cherie is the quietest of the group, she is not as playful as her little sister and can be quite withdrawn and nervous. Keepers describe her as being “a bit like a little old lady” but have also told us she can be very stubborn!
This week we're celebrating Orangutan Awareness Week by revelaing the little known life stories of our four resident orangutans. You can find out more about the week and what we've got planned here. In an attempt to raise vital funds to support their rescue efforts in Borneo, we’ll be auctioning off a selection of unique, one of a kind artworks by our resident male orangutan, Ramon, on our Facebook page.