Orangutan

Roses Are Red…and This Endangered Baby Is Too!

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A highly endangered baby Sumatran Orangutan was born via Cesarean section at the Memphis Zoo on March 19, 2016. The new male is doing well and is being reared by his mother, Jahe (Jah-hay).

To celebrate the excitement of the new addition, the Zoo recently hosted a naming contest via the Zoo’s website, and the winning name is… Rowan (“little red one”)!

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C-sections on Orangutans are rare, with only 18 of the 2,224 births in the International Orangutan Studbook being performed in this manner. Of these, Jahe and baby Rowan will be the ninth pair to survive the C-section birth.

This is the first Sumatran Orangutan birth at the Memphis Zoo since 2004, and to ensure the best possible care for the mother, a human obstetrician, Dr. Joseph C. DeWane, performed the C-section, with assistance from the veterinarian and animal care staff of the Memphis Zoo. At birth, Rowan weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces, which is large for a baby of this species.

"I was honored to be a part of this historic event at the Memphis Zoo,” said Dr. DeWane. “Our community is so blessed to have one of the top five zoos in the country. I know every time I visit the zoo, I will make a special trip to see Jahe and her baby.”     

Due to the mother’s surgery, the Memphis Zoo animal and veterinarian staff hand-reared the baby while Jahe recovered. Staff held and fed the infant around the clock, and spent their daytime hours in the Orangutan building with Jahe, where she could have visual access to baby Rowan. Jahe’s interest in the baby was encouraged and reinforced, and she was allowed to touch and examine him through the mesh as often as she liked while the keepers held him.

After 12 days, Jahe’s incision had healed well, and animal care staff orchestrated an introduction. Jahe immediately picked up the baby, and despite being a first-time mother, held him appropriately and inspected him closely. Animal care staff monitored the twosome around the clock for several days and noted successful nursing within 24 hours. The pair has been inseparable since.

The Memphis Zoo is one of only two institutions that have reintroduced mother and baby less than two weeks after the surgery.

“The baby’s upbringing was only unique in the first couple of weeks. We had to step in temporarily to hand-rear in order to allow Jahe to recover from her surgery,” said Courtney Janney, Curator of Large Mammals. “Once we were sure she was comfortable and healing well, we reintroduced the baby to his mother and she has completely taken over.”

This infant is the first for mother, Jahe, and third for father, Tombak. Jahe (18-years-old) arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 2010. Her name means “ginger” in the Indonesian language. Tombak (33-years-old) arrived at the Memphis Zoo in 1994. His name is derived from a Javanese word meaning “copper.”

This is a significant birth for the Memphis Zoo, and for the greater Sumatran Orangutan population, as only about 200 Sumatran Orangutans are currently on exhibit across the country. The species is listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List.

“With just a few thousand of these animals left in wild, this is a momentous occasion,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “I’m very proud of our animal care team that intervened and saved the lives of both mother and baby. This is truly an event to celebrate!”

Mother and baby are currently resting behind-the-scenes. The new addition is not yet on exhibit.

The Memphis Zoo currently has four Sumatran Orangutans. In addition to Rowan, Jahe, and Tombak, the Zoo also has Chickie, a 38-year-old female. Chickie is named after former U.S. Surgeon General, Charles “Chick” Everett Koop, who operated on her shortly after her birth. Orangutans have been housed at the Memphis Zoo since 1960, with the first Sumatran Orangutan arrival in 1974.

Jahe arrived at the Memphis Zoo from the Toronto Zoo, where she was born. Her mother, named Puppe, still lives at the Toronto Zoo, and was a wild-caught animal. This makes Jahe a genetically valuable animal.

Tombak is also the father of Elok and Indah, two previous offspring who were born in 2004. However, they both had to be hand-reared, and were later sent to the Houston Zoo.

The name Orangutan means “man of the forest;” they are the largest tree-dwelling animal in the world. Because of their arboreal nature, their arm span can reach 7 feet from fingertip to fingertip. There are two subspecies of Orangutans: Sumatran and Bornean. Orangutans have the second longest childhood, first being humans, spending up to eight ears with their mothers and nursing up to 6 years of age.

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is native to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

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Baby Makes Three Generations of Orangutans in Tampa

Bornean orang hadiah and topi 3 feb 20 2016Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is celebrating three generations of Bornean Orangutans after the birth of two infants in just two months.

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Bornean orang hadiah and topi 4 feb 20 2016
Bornean orang josie and gojo feb 22 2016Photo Credit:  Dave Parkinson/Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

Thirty-year-old Josie gave birth to GoJo, a male, in December.  Then Josie’s daughter Hadiah delivered her very first baby, a female named Topi, on February 17 to make three generations of these endangered apes at the zoo. 

In the photos seen here, two-month-old GoJo displays his upright hairdo while Topi snuggles close to her mom. 

“We are very fortunate that Hadiah was able to observe her mother’s labor and delivery just two months before her own experience,” said Angela Belcher, animal care manager for primates.  “As a first time mother, it took her some time to learn how to properly handle the infant, but much progress has been made in the last few days and she has the benefit of a great role model.”

Topi spends her days being cradled or carried by Hadiah, and is totally dependent on her mother for care.  For several months Topi will nurse exclusively, then will be gradually introduced to solid foods.  Orangutans have the longest childhood of any animal other than humans:  Offspring stay with their mothers for six to eight years.

Bornean Orangutans are one of two Orangutan subspecies (the other is the Sumatran Orangutan), and all Orangutans are endangered.   About 50,000 Bornean Orangutans remain in the wilds of Malaysia and Borneo; only about 6,000 Sumatran Orangutans remain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  Both subspecies are threatened by human activities, especially the conversion of forest habitats to palm oil plantations.  In 2015, raging fires intentionally set to burn Bornean land before plantation development had devastating effects on the forests – more than 2 million hectares (nearly 5 million acres) were burned. In addition, poaching and the pet-trade remain major threats to Orangutans across most of Borneo.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to maximize genetic diversity in zoo-dwelling populations of rare animals.  Nine Bornean Orangutan have been  born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, and there are fewer than 100 Bornean Orangutans in 24 AZA-accredited institutions in North America.

See more photos of the babies below.

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Challenging Delivery for Bornean Orangutan Mom

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With Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo veterinary and primate animal care teams standing by; a precious Christmas gift came early. Josie, a 30-year-old Bornean Orangutan, gave birth to a male offspring on December 21. Although this was the fourth baby for an experienced mother, the offspring was born in the breech position creating a challenging labor and delivery.

“Josie did an amazing job with the delivery under difficult circumstances, and she cleared the baby’s airway herself immediately after birth,” said Dr. Ray Ball, director of medical sciences. “Along with our team, Josie’s 10-year-old daughter, Hadiah, observed the entire labor and delivery, which will be a very important experience for her when she becomes a mother.”

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4_primates orang josie gojo 1 dec 26 2015 by Dave ParkinsonPhoto Credits: Images 1,3: Zootastic/Lowry Park Zoo ; Images 2, 4-6: Dave Parkinson/Lowry Park Zoo

With the newborn, the Zoo is currently home to a group of six Orangutans: adult male Goyang who sired the infant, Josie and baby, Josie’s older daughter Hadiah, adult female Dee Dee, and her juvenile daughter RanDee. The new baby has been named “GoJo,” a blend of his parents’ names.

Born with a thin layer of red hair and cream-colored skin around his face and abdominal region, the infant (estimated at 2-3 pounds at birth) spends his days resting, nursing and snuggling with mom. New babies will ride on their mother’s chest and back for the first few years and will nurse for three to five years, on average. Orangutan offspring are dependent on their mothers for about seven years. As one of the world's largest primates, the Orangutan is second only to the Gorilla in size.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. The male baby is eighth Bornean Orangutan born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. There are fewer than 100 Bornean Orangutans in 24 AZA-accredited institutions in North America.

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New Name for a New Orangutan at Chester Zoo

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A six-week-old female Sumatran Orangutan, named Siska (born September 3 to mum, Subis), was given her new moniker after staff at Chester Zoo confirmed her gender.

Siska shares her name with a specialist Orangutan vet, from Indonesia, who first spotted the new baby clinging to her mum on the morning she was born. Vet, Siska Sulistyo, who normally works in sanctuaries in South East Asia, has spent three months in Chester, UK, working alongside the zoo’s resident veterinary team, as part of an initiative to exchange knowledge and skills.

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Chris Yarwood, Lead Keeper at Chester Zoo, said, “Siska has been named after an Indonesian vet who is spending some time working with our animal health teams here at the zoo. She was the very first person to spot our new arrival the morning she was born, so we thought it was a fitting name particularly given the vital conservation work that her team carry out in South East Asia with a range of endangered species. 

“Sumatran Orangutans are being pushed dangerously close to extinction every day and, as it stands, they are one of the world’s most endangered species.

“Siska is a very special addition to both the zoo and the European-wide breeding programme, which aims to have a healthy safety-net population of the species in case the worst should happen--extinction in the wild.”

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Two Baby Orangutans Born Just Weeks Apart

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Two Bornean Orangutan babies were born just three weeks apart at France’s La Palmyre Zoo.  The two little ones are important additions to the zoo breeding program designed to help save this endangered species.

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Photo Credit:  F. Perroux/Zoo de la Palmyre
 

During the night of August 15, 18-year old Katja gave birth to a male named Hutan after a gestation period of 7.5 months. Because this was Katja’s first baby, zoo keepers were concerned that her lack of experience could cause Katja to improperly care for her baby.  But Katja was mother-reared (as opposed to being hand-reared by humans) and observed many babies being raised in her family group, two factors that contribute to proper infant care.  So far Katja is taking good care of Hutan and exhibits strong maternal skills. 

Three weeks later, 39-year-old Tiba gave birth to her fifth baby, a female named Nanga. Tiba is an experienced mother. However, a few days after the birth, Tiba had to treated for an infection, which raised some concerns for her infant.  Fortunately, the treatment was successful Tiba is now doing much better.

These infants are the zoo’s first since 2002 and are the result of a new male Orangutan named Barito, who arrived in 2014 to replace the resident male, who was unable to produce offspring.

Katja and Tiba are together but remain isolated from the rest of the group so they can build strong bonds with their babies. Orangutans have the longest childhood of any animal except humans – babies remain with their mothers for 8-12 years.  Orangutans can live for more than 50 years.

Wild Bornean Orangutans face serious threats in the wild as rain forests are replaced by large palm oil plantations.  Found only on the island of Borneo, these apes are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to massive habitat destruction. 

La Palmyre Zoo supports the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project in Sabah, Borneo.  Only 20% of Sabah's Orangutans live in protected areas, so there's an urgent need to conserve the remaining 80% who live in plantations, commercial forests or unallocated lands. This conservation work includes reconnecting isolated forest fragments through land acquisition, creation of corridors, and construction of artificial bridges; minimizing human/animal conflicts; and collaborating with forest loggers and plantation operators in order to promote a sustainable oil palm industry.

See more photos of the baby Orangutans below.

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Orangutan at Henry Vilas Zoo Reaches Milestone

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The baby Bornean Orangutan, at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, has reached an important milestone in her growth and development. She recently turned 100 days old!

Henry Vilas Zoo excitedly announced the infant’s birth on April 9.  The healthy female was born to first-time parents Kawan and Datu, and she was named Keju (‘kay-joo’), Malay for “cheese”.

“We are excited to have Keju as part of our zoo family,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “No matter where she goes in life, her name is a reminder that she is a true Wisconsinite. We take great pride in the work we do to protect endangered species.” 

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4_Infant Bornean orangutan Keju_April 2015_Photo credit Henry Vilas ZooPhoto Credits: Beth Petersen/Henry Vilas Zoo (Image 1); Henry Vilas Zoo (Images 2-6)

Keju is important to the national effort to maintain a population of this endangered species, through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). Orangutans are found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are the only great ape found in Asia. Bornean Orangutans are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Sumatran Orangutans are considered “Critically Endangered”, with less than 6,000 individuals left in Sumatra.

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Baby Orangutan Climbs and Explores at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Baby Asmara Climbing 7What does a six-month-old Sumatran Orangutan like to do?  Climb, explore, and climb some more!

Asmara the Sumatran Orangutan was born at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo on November 22, 2014, one of only two babies of this critically endangered species to be born in a United States zoo in 2014.  

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Baby Asmara learning to climbPhoto Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

You first met Asmara on ZooBorns when she was four months old and still clinging tightly to her mother, Tara.  Asmara first started climbing at about five months old, using small ropes that keepers hung close to the ground.  Now, Tara carries her baby high into the trees within the exhibit and lets her little one explore.  Asmara grips the vines with both hands and both feet, sometimes unsure of what she should do next.  Mom is always close by to rescue the little ape when she gets herself in a fix.

It’s easy to see that Orangutans are specially adapted for life in the treetops.  With thumb-like big toes, these apes can grasp branches with ease.

Sumatran Orangutans are native to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and are found nowhere else in the wild.  Because their rain forest habitat is being destroyed, often for the illegal construction of palm oil plantations, Sumatran Orangutans are confined to small fragments of forest.  They are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Only about 7,000 remain in the wild. 

See more photos of Asmara below the fold.

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Baby Orangutan Hangs on Tight

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Asmara, a 16-week old Sumatran Orangutan at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, went into her exhibit for the first time last week. Until now, Asmara and her mother, Tara, have been living in an off-exhibit bedroom adjacent to the main exhibit.

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Photo Credit:  Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

On their first day in the exhibit, Asmara clung tightly to her mother as Tara explored high up in the trees.  Zoo keeper Angie Selzer watched nervously, but all went well. "Tara climbed very high right away, but Asmara clung tightly just like she would in the wild," she said.

Prior to the big day, the exhibit underwent extensive baby-proofing.  Zoo keepers covered the floor with soft straw and checked the trees, walls, and vines for potential safety issues.  The City of Fort Wayne's tree crews even got involved, helping to reinforce the vines and hammocks.

Born on November 22 to Tara and her mate, Tengku, Asmara is important to the future of Sumatran Orangutans, which are Critically Endangered.  About 320 Sumatran Orangutans live in zoos worldwide, and an average of 15 babies are born each year in the world’s zoos. In the wild, these red-furred apes are found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, where the population is in drastic decline due to illegal hunting and the destruction of their forest homes to build palm oil plantations.

Fewer than 7,000 Sumatran Orangutans remain in the wild. Some experts predict Orangutans could become extinct in the wild within a few decades if circumstances remain unchanged.


And Baby Makes Eight

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Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is home to eight Orangutans, including their newest, born November 19, 2014.  

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IMG_1227Photo Credits: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium

The female was born to first-time mother, ‘Sepilok’, and father, ‘Chip’.  The zoo recently held a naming contest for the baby, and her new name will be announced on February 2nd.

New mom, Sepilok, was born in Hong Kong in 2001, and she came to the Omaha zoo in 2003. Proud father, Chip, was born in Rochester, NY in 1993 and arrived in Omaha in 1998. Chip is the zoo’s oldest resident Orangutan, at 21 years-of-age.

Female Orangutans reach sexual maturity between ages 10 and 15. They give birth every 6-8 years, and have a gestation period of about 245 days. With an average lifespan of only 40 years, Orangutans may only give birth to four or five infants in a lifetime, which is why each birth is so important to the population. The fact that Sepilok stems from a Hong Kong lineage makes her a genetically valuable participant in the breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Bornean Orangutans are listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. As with most species surviving in the wild, habitat destruction is the biggest threat. A great majority of habitat destruction in Indonesia is due to the demand for palm oil, with palm oil plantations destroying forests to grow palm trees for harvesting.


Baby Orangutan Thriving Under Keepers' Care

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A baby Sumatran Orangutan at Germany’s Zoo Berlin is being raised by zoo keepers after her mother failed to care for her.

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Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin

The baby was born early in the morning on January 12 to first-time mother Djasinga, age 11.  Despite attempts by zoo keepers to get mother and baby together, the two did not bond.  Keepers decided to hand-rear the infant, who is healthy and strong.

Every two to three hours, the baby is bottle-fed with infant formula.  For now, she resides behind the scenes, where she cannot be seen by zoo guests.  The zoo’s animal care team, in cooperation with the European Endangered Species Programme, will begin the process of determining the next steps for the baby.  Zoo Berlin houses eight Orangutans in two groups.

Sumatran Orangutans are native only to the island of Sumatra, where they inhabit rain forests.  Like their close relatives the Bornean Orangutans, these apes are perilously close to extinction due to extreme habitat loss as forests are converted to palm oil plantations.  By purchasing products made with sustainable palm oil, consumers can help preserve important Orangutan habitat.

See more photos of the baby Orangutan below.

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