Orangutan

Help Name This Rare Baby Orangutan!

Baby-orangutan-Jan-1-2015_IMG_8312_Stephanie-Braccini-Saint-Louis-Zoo_webThe Saint Louis Zoo welcomed a rare baby Sumatran Orangutan on December 14, one of only two born in United States zoos in 2014.

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Merah_Baby_Dec14_BracciniPhoto Credit:  Stephanie Braccini

The baby, a female, was born to mother Merah, age 45, and father Cinta, age 10.  Mother and baby are doing well, but they will remain behind the scenes for at least a month.  The first 30 days of a baby Orangutan’s life are critical for developing a strong bond between mother and baby.

The baby hasn’t been named yet, and you can help choose the name!  The zoo's Great Ape care team was asked to select a few potential female names, and you can vote for your favorite. The four name choices are: Marigold, Lucy, Cranberry and Ginger.

Now through 11:50 p.m. on January 16, you can cast your vote online in the Name the Baby poll

Zoo staff will reveal the baby’s name at a baby shower in honor of Merah and the newborn on Monday, January 19.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Orangutan Species Survival Plan recommended the birth as part of its role in creating a sustainable managed population for this critically endangered species.

"Merah is an excellent and experienced mother," said Stephanie Braccini, Ph.D., Saint Louis Zoo Zoological Manager, Great Apes. "She is carrying the infant, facilitating nursing, essentially doing everything right."

Prior to the birth, Merah's caretakers had conditioned her to allow voluntary ultrasound examinations by zoo veterinarians; these examinations allowed the team to proactively monitor the health and development of the baby during gestation. Merah and her baby continue to be monitored closely by a team of caretakers, veterinarians, and a nutritionist.

This is the fifth baby for Merah, the grandmother of two and the great-grandmother of one. She was born in the Netherlands and became a first-time mother in 1982.

Both Bornean Orangutans, endemic to Borneo, and Sumatran Orangutans, endemic to Sumatra, are highly endangered due to alarming habitat loss. A global demand for palm oil has resulted in widespread deforestation and subsequent drastic declines in the number of Orangutans that survive in the wild.

See more photos of the baby below.

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Rare Baby Orangutan is First US Birth in 2014

Baby Sumatran Orangutan - 3 days old - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - Credit Angie Selzer 3
A Sumatran Orangutan born on November 22 at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is the only one born in a United States zoo so far in 2014, and therefore represents a significant addition to the population of this critically endangered species.

Baby Sumatran Orangutan - 10 days old - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - credit Dr Kami Fox

Baby Sumatran Orangutan - 3 days old - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - credit Angie Selzer 2
Baby Sumatran Orangutan - 3 days old - Fort Wayne Children's Zoo - credit Angie Selzer
Asmara 10 days old - credit Angie Selzer
Photo Credit:  Angie Selzer (1,3,4,5); Kami Fox (2)

Zoo keepers and veterinary staff expected 19-year-old Tara to give birth between mid-November and early December. They had been watching Tara by remote camera overnight for several weeks. When keepers observed Tara pacing in her off-exhibit bedroom late in the evening on November 21, they suspected she was in labor and arrived at the zoo to monitor the birth.

Tara’s labor lasted a few hours, and she delivered her female baby unassisted. Immediately following the delivery, Tara began cleaning her infant and placed it in her nest – a pile of wood shavings and blankets – where she sleeps at night.

Zoo officials are cautiously optimistic about the baby’s future. Because this is Tara’s first baby and she has never observed another female caring for an infant, officials were concerned that she may not know how to care for her baby.

To address any potential problems, zoo keepers spent several months preparing an extensive Birth Management Plan. Prior to the birth, zoo keepers used a plush stuffed toy and operant conditioning to train Tara to bring her “baby” to keepers who could bottle-feed it if Tara failed to nurse. Tara has also been trained to present her nipple to keepers to nurse a baby, in the event that keepers must provide daily care for the infant.

“So far, none of these measures has been needed,” said Animal Curator Mark Weldon. “Tara is proving to be a good mother.”

The breeding of Tara with 28-year-old male Tengku was recommended by the Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums that seeks to maintain genetic diversity within populations of endangered animals. Lori Perkins of Zoo Atlanta chairs the Orangutan SSP, and she says that only eight other orangutans have been born in United States Zoos in 2014, but all are Bornean orangutans – a separate subspecies from the Sumatran Orangutans that are held at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Perkins notes that two other Sumatran Orangutans are currently pregnant at other US zoos.

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. 


What’s In a Name? Help New Baby Find Out

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The Phoenix Zoo is home to an adorable new Bornean Orangutan. The new male was born September 2nd, to mother, ‘Bess’, and father, ‘Michael’, and he is the second baby born to the pair, joining eight-year-old sister, ‘Kasih’. 

Phoenix-Zoo-Bornean-orangutan-baby-04-photo-by-Joseph-Becker

Phoenix-Zoo-Bornean-orangutan-baby-01-photo-by-Joseph-Becker

Phoenix-Zoo-Bornean-orangutan-baby-02-photo-by-Joseph-BeckerPhoto Credits: Joseph Becker / Phoenix Zoo

Bornean Orangutan newborns spend the first four to five months clinging tightly to their mothers, so it will still be awhile before the baby begins moving about independently. At this young age, the baby spends much of his time nursing and sleeping. Orangutan young remain with their mothers until they are around seven years old, making theirs one of the longest childhoods in the animal kingdom.

The Phoenix Zoo is asking for the public’s help in naming the newborn. Their staff has selected five names, each with its own special meaning, and they invite you to vote on your favorite choice. The winning name will be announced at a baby shower event at the Zoo on November 8, 2014, followed by the announcement of the name on Facebook:  (http://www.facebook.com/PhoenixZoo) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/PhoenixZoo).

Voting ends November 6, 2014 at 8 p.m. MST.

The five potential names are:

Abadi – meaning “enduring”
Duke – honoring the baby’s grandmother Duchess
Jantung – meaning “heart”
Jiwa – meaning “soul”
Warisan – meaning “legacy”

Cast your vote by visiting http://phoenixzoo.org/2014/10/27/help-us-name-baby-orangutan/

Bornean Orangutans are listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List, and scientists estimate that wild orangutans could be extinct in 5-10 years, if their forest habitat continues to be destroyed at the current rate. Forests in Borneo and Sumatra are being destroyed for lumber and to produce palm oil, which is used in countless snack foods, household cleaning supplies and cosmetics. You can help reduce demand for unsustainably harvested palm oil by purchasing products that use certified sustainable palm oil and by supporting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil at rspo.org


Baby Orangutan Finds a Home at Brookfield Zoo

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Kecil, a 6-month-old Bornean Orangutan, is winning the hearts of Brookfield Zoo fans, but most importantly, he is bonding with his surrogate mother, a 53-year-old Bornean Orangutan named Maggie.

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Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo

 
Kecil (pronounced Ka-cheel, which is Indonesian for “little”), was born at the Toledo Zoo to an experienced mother, but she did not care for him.  The AZA’s Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP) and Hand Rearing/Surrogacy Advisory Group leapt into action and found a surrogate mother for Kecil at the Milwaukee County Zoo.  Unfortunately, Kecil and that female orangutan did not successfully bond, and the team identified Maggie as a potential surrogate.

Throughout the process of finding a suitable surrogate, staff members at all three zoos provided exceptional care for Kecil.  All baby animals have better outcomes when raised by members of their own species.  They typically are better socialized and become better parents themselves – a very important trait for endangered animals like Orangutans, where the genetic material of every animal is important to the survival of the species.

Upon his arrival at Brookfield Zoo, Kecil was given a brief physical examination and then taken to an off-exhibit area at the zoo’s Tropic World exhibit to be introduced to Maggie. Since the two have been together, animal care staff have seen very positive interactions. The two engage each other in play, and the young orangutan often sleeps in the crook of Maggie’s arm. He has shown interest in Maggie’s food, but for now he has been sampling softer foods like bananas, and baby cereal has become a staple. In addition, Kecil comes to the front of their enclosure on his own or with Maggie’s assistance to be bottle-fed, which will continue at least until he is a year old.

“Although it has been only a short time and we have a long road ahead of us, we are extremely optimistic due to Kecil and Maggie’s progress so far. Maggie is an easygoing and gentle Orangutan. The two have been together since Kecil’s arrival, and Maggie has provided care and attention that he needs to receive from an Orangutan.” said Jay Petersen, curator of primates and carnivores for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

Kecil was born on January 11, 2014, at Ohio’s Toledo Zoo. His mother, Yasmin, who has raised her own offspring in the past, showed little interest in caring for him following a difficult delivery. Toledo Zoo’s keepers and veterinary team worked tirelessly to offer the two private off-exhibit quarters, hoping that they would bond. However, after months of dedicated but unsuccessful efforts to encourage Yasmin to care for Kecil, they decided it would be best to place him with a surrogate at another zoo.

On May 19, at four months old, Kecil was taken to Milwaukee County Zoo to be placed with a possible surrogate named MJ. During the month Kecil was at Milwaukee, animal care staff worked around the clock to introduce Kecil to MJ, and the initial results were positive. However, the optimal level of bonding that staff had hoped to see was not achieved, and after various stages of progress, the situation seemed to have reached a plateau.

Once again, discussions took place to determine the next course of action for the infant. Because it is extremely important that Kecil be raised by Orangutans rather than humans, the animal care experts decided to try another potential surrogate, and he was moved to Brookfield Zoo to be introduced to Maggie.

During the transfers to Milwaukee County Zoo and Brookfield Zoo, an animal care staff member from the previous facility accompanied Kecil to help in his transition. “Kecil seems calm and adaptable to the changing situations in his young life. The moves don’t seem to have fazed him at all,” said Petersen. “We are all hoping that Brookfield Zoo will be his last move for a while.”

“The collaboration among the three institutions to ensure Kecil grows up in the best environment possible speaks to the commitment of everyone involved,” said Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society.

It will be many months before Kecil and Maggie will be on exhibit for guests to see. Animal care staff want to give the two time to develop their relationship. In addition, Kecil needs to become much more agile and mobile before being introduced to the exhibit. 

Orangutans once lived over much of Southeast Asia, but their range and population have been dramatically reduced. Their natural habitat—the rain-forest islands of Sumatra and Borneo—continues to be decimated. Huge tracts of the rain forests are logged and converted to palm oil plantations. There are approximately 40,000 Bornean Orangutans left in the wild, and the population has declined by 50 percent since 1990. 

See more photos of Kecil and Maggie below.

Continue reading "Baby Orangutan Finds a Home at Brookfield Zoo" »


UPDATE! Mom and Baby Orangutan Reunite at Zoo Atlanta

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Pongo the Orangutan just turned one year old just a few days ago, on January 10. He was born by Caesarian section at Zoo Atlanta and raised by a team of zoo keepers, volunteers and veterinarians while Blaze, the mother, recovered.

A first-time mom, Blaze fully recovered from the surgery but wasn't quite ready to take on the role of motherhood. Caregivers began a careful series of introductions, allowing mother and baby to see each other across a barrier (for safety). In the first two photos, Pongo is watching mom at an introdution session. 

(We're doing a bit of a recap here, but see our previous stories on the birth and early reintroductions for even more photos!) 

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After two months of introductions, Blaze finally reached a curious hand out toward the little baby. 

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Reintroduction efforts continued daily. Pongo was taken to the orangutan building each morning for intros with Blaze, and each evening returned to a nursery to receive round-the-clock care and feeding from staff and volunteer caregivers. Meanwhile, he was growing steadily, gaining strength, and learning how to climb!

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Photo credits: Zoo Atlanta / Adam K. Thompson (1-3, 11, 13, 15);  Primate Team (4, 7, 11); Laura Mayo (5); Lynn Yakubinis (6, 8); Kate Leach (9, 10, 12); Max Block (14)

See and read more after the fold!

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Baby Orangutan is a Precious Gift for Twycross Zoo

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The United Kingdom's Twycross Zoo has announced the birth of an Orangutan! Born in the early hours of the morning on November 28, the newborn ape is happy, healthy and doing very well.

The new arrival is 36-year old Kibriah’s fourth offspring and yet another vital addition to the European Breeding Programme of this endangered great ape.

Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, head of life sciences at the zoo, says, “When keepers arrived in the morning they were delighted to find Kibriah had given birth overnight.

“Although Kibriah isn’t a first time mum, this is her first baby in 12 years, so we’re all very pleased with how well she’s doing. She’s very confident and relaxed with the infant, and enjoying plenty of rest! At the moment Dad [Batu, aged 24] hasn’t met the new arrival but it won’t be long before they’re introduced. Batu is a great father to Molly, our three year old Orangutan, so we expect the meeting to go very smoothly.”

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3 orangutanPhoto credit: Twycross Zoo

See video of the baby at 14 days old:

 

Female Orangutans generally give birth to a single infant after a gestation period of approximately eight and a half months. Female Bornean Orangutans reach maturity between 10 and 15 years old and reproduce every six to eight years on average.

Great Ape Team Leader, Simon Childs, adds, “We’re all very proud. Kibriah is a very loving mum and she’s doing such a great job. She is holding the baby very close so we won’t know if it’s a boy or a girl just yet. When we find out the sex, we can then start to think of a name for him or her. At this stage we don’t mind what sex it is, we’re just happy to have another healthy infant.”

“Molly is already a firm favorite with our visitors so we expect Kibriah’s newest arrival will too become very popular with visitors, and in time become a playmate for Molly.”

See and read more after the fold.

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Baby Boom at the UK's Paignton Zoo

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Paignton Zoo Environmental Park has welcomed a crop of early summer babies. Among them is this Capybara, who was born on May 15, getting a nuzzle from mom. The Capybara hails from South America and is the largest rodent in the world. To aid them when in water, where they go for tender greens to eat and to beat the heat, they have webbed feet and thick fur -- and their eyes, ears, and nose are positioned high on their head, which they hold above the surface.

Just five days later, on May 20, this Brazilian Tapir was born. The Tapir uses its short, trunk-like nose to sniff its way through the forest, to pull leaves and shoots towards its mouth, and as a snorkel - they love water and are excellent swimmers.

And a Bornean Orangutan baby came into the world on April 11. In the wild, Orangutans are threatened by hunting, the pet trade, and the destruction of their rainforest habitat. Their forest home is rapidly being replaced by palm oil plantations due to a massive demand for this product in many of the foods we eat. You can help by looking at labels and switching to products that don't use palm oil. 

2013 05 PZ young tapir by Ray Wiltshire

2013 05 PZ yawning orang baby by Ray Wiltshire
Photo Credit: Ray Wiltshire


Paignton Zoo's New Baby Orangutan is a Girl

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Paignton Zoo's Orangutan mom Mali gave birth on May 11 to what keepers are 99% sure is a little girl. She is healthy and has bonded exceptionally well with Mom. Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said:  “Mali and baby are doing well. They have the largest of our Orangutan islands and an off-exhibit den to themselves. We hope that visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of the youngster, which will become more mobile over the coming months."

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is threatened by hunting, the pet trade and the destruction of its rainforest habitat. That forest is being destroyed to create plantations producing palm oil, an ingredient found in an enormous amount of products people use daily Given the declining populations, measures such as switching to alternative oil products and maintaining sustainable populations of Orangutans in zoos are becoming ever more important. Everyone can help by reading labels at the grocery store to determine what products are made without palm oil. 

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Photo Credit: Photos 1, 2 4: Ray Wiltshire, Photo 3: Simon Maddock

Bornean Orangutans have suffered declines and the population is estimated at around 50,000. To put this in context, there are fewer Bornean Orangutans in the entire world than there are human beings in Torquay (the population of Torquay is about 62,000).

Article continued after the fold:

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Baby Orangutan Thriving at Taipei Zoo at One Year Old

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Niu-li, a Bornean Orangutan, was born on April 11, 2012, at Taipei Zoo. She is named after her mother, Xiang-niu. Her father, Eddie, living in a nearby enclosure often peeks at his mate and daughter. Mom Xiang-niu was very loving, and held her baby quite tenderly. However, she was not producing enough milk, which had caused unsuccessful nursing in her previous two babies. So, after two days of observation, the keepers decided to it was necessary to hand-rear Niu-li,.

Female Orangutans invest a lot of time in their offspring, taking care of them until they reach adolescence at around 6 years of age. Although Orangutans are similar to human beings, nursing a 3 pound (1.42 kg) baby is still not an easy task. Keepers had to feed her five times a day, one of which had to happen before dawn. “Fortunately, Niu-li is a well-behaved baby. She drinks 65 c.c. of milk promptly every time,” said one of the zoo keepers.

The word “orangutan” comes from Malay language and means “person of the forest.” They are omnivorous, but primarily eat fruits, which make up more than 60% of their total dietary intake. They will migrate depending on fruit availability. 

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Photo Credit: Taipei Zoo

Here's a video showing the baby's pictures and near the end, her first attempts at climbing:

Read about Niu-li's progress, and see more of her pictures,  after the fold:

Continue reading "Baby Orangutan Thriving at Taipei Zoo at One Year Old" »


New Baby Orangutan Makes It Three Generations at Gladys Porter Zoo

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On the night of February 14, a female Sumatran Orangutan was born at Gladys Porter Zoo. Maya, the baby Orangutan, was born to Dodie, who is 35 years old. Although Dodie only has one arm, she has proven to be an excellent mother. She delivered naturally and immediately started to provide maternal care for baby Maya. And the two are quite playful with each other.

Sumatran Orangutans are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN.There are only about 6,600 individuals estimated to live in the wild. Experts and statistics based on their population decline suggest that Orangutans could become the first Great Ape species to become extinct. The greatest threat that this species faces is habitat loss. The forests that are home to the Orangutans are being turned into palm oil plantations at an alarming rate. More than half of their habitat has been destroyed within the last 25 years.

Three generations of Sumatran Orangutans can be seen on exhibit at Gladys Porter Zoo. Suzie, Maya's 50 year old grandmother, Dodie, her mother; and baby Maya are currently on display.

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Photo Credit: Gladys Porter Zoo

See more of this wonderful pair after the fold:

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