Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at Audubon Zoo

Early this morning, animal care staff at Audubon Zoo were welcomed by the arrival of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan infant. Although early signs and physical changes pointed to an anticipated birth window between April and May, those signs appeared later than normal and the birth happened earlier than expected. 


Mother and the infant appear to be doing well and are behind-the-scenes to give them time to bond and to allow the Zoo’s veterinary and primate team to care for them. Staff are monitoring the infant’s health closely for any signs of weakness or dehydration. The next 48 hours are critical as the newborn learns to nurse. 

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Pairi Daiza Welcomes Birth of an Infant Orangutan

The Belgian animal park of Pairi Daiza – voted best zoo of Europe for three years in a row - is happy to announce the birth of a Sumatran orangutan in its orangutan conservancy. The little boy, named Mathaï by his keepers, is the newest member of our orangutan family, that consists of dad Ujian, mom Sari and big brother Berani. With another adult couple of two (Gempa and Sinta, also expecting a baby), Pairi Daiza now houses six of these critically endangered great apes. Orangutans are facing mass extinction in the wild because of deforestation. Only 14.000 of these unique, intelligent animals remain alive today. Pairi Daiza wishes to offer a new future to these apes, with whom we share 97% of our human DNA. We do this by reinforcing and conserving the genetic capital of orangutans in our conservancy in Belgium, but also by funding reforestation projects in the orangutans’ home country: Indonesia. Last year, Pairi Daiza Foundation has funded over 11.000 new trees on the island of Borneo.

Photo Mathaï 10
Photo Mathaï 10
Photo Mathaï 10


Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at Prague Zoo

A young Sumatran orangutan was born on Tuesday, November 17 - only the third in the history of the Prague Zoo! They don't know the sex of the baby yet, but the good news is that mom Mawar feeds and takes good care of her infant regularly. Aside from Father Pagy, the newborn baby is the only descendant of orangutans who came to the zoo from the forests of Sumatra.  The child is therefore genetically extremely valuable to the conservation of the species.

Video: Miroslav Bobek

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Critically endangered orangutan born at Chester Zoo


Chester Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Bornean orangutan.

The new baby took keepers by surprise as mum Leia had been given a pregnancy test just months before, which came back negative. Orangutans are typically pregnant for 259 days (eight and a half months).

Keepers say the new arrival is ‘bright and alert’ and is suckling well from mum, who is incredibly protective of her new baby.

Bornean orangutans are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered in the wild.

Threatened by illegal hunting, habitat destruction and the conversion of their forest to palm oil plantations, the species has been pushed to the very brink of existence. Recent estimates suggest as few as 55,000 Bornean orangutans may remain on the island of Borneo in Indonesia - the only place they can be found in the wild. With this huge decline in the population, the group of orangutans at Chester Zoo are part of a vital international breeding programme which is working to conserve the species.

Chris Yarwood, a primate keeper at the zoo, said:

“The pregnancy tests we had carried out on Leia in the months prior to the birth had actually returned negative results. It was therefore a wonderful surprise to arrive one morning to see her protectively cradling a beautiful new arrival.

“Leia enjoys spending lots of time alone with her baby and has so far been quite shy about showing it off. She always keeps it really close to her and so we’ve not yet been able to clearly determine what the gender of the infant is. What we are sure of though is that the baby is bright, alert and suckling well from mum and has developed well over the last couple of months. This is Leia’s second baby - she’s a great mum and is doing a fab job once again.

“Chester is one of the few zoos in Europe that cares for both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans. These are critically endangered animals and, importantly, we’ve seen babies from both sub-species born in recent times. It just goes to show that, despite all of the uncertainty in the world right now, life is carrying on as normal for the orangutans, which is really uplifting to see.”

Dr Nick Davis, the zoo’s Deputy Curator of Mammals, added:

“Bornean orangutans are the largest arboreal mammals in the world and how fast their numbers are plummeting is frightening. They are victims of illegal hunting and habitat loss and are highly threatened by the unsustainable oil palm industry, which is having a devastating effect on the forests where they live.

“These magnificent animals are being pushed to the very edge of existence and it really could be the case that we soon lose them forever. It’s absolutely vital therefore that there’s a sustainable population of Bornean orangutans in the world’s progressive zoos - every addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is so, so important.”

Chester Zoo is working with conservation partners HUTAN in a bid to protect wild orangutans in Borneo. Conservationists have been carrying out research in the Kinabatangan - home to one of the largest populations of orangutans in the Sabah region of the island - to gain a better understanding of how orangutans are adapting to an increase in oil palm plantations and the new landscapes which they have created.

A team of zoo experts has also helped to create special ‘orangutan bridges’ – designed to connect pockets of fragmented forest and enable orangutans to safely travel between different areas. Elsewhere, the zoo is working on environmental education programmes, which teach communities surrounding the forests about how they can help save the species and has also supported local NGO, the Borneo Nature Foundation, in tackling forest fires to help protect the Bornean orangutans’ habitat.
Dr Davis continued:

“There’s still a huge need to tackle the excessive deforestation in Borneo and show people everywhere that they can make a difference to the long-term survival of orangutans. We really hope that Leia’s new baby helps to further highlight how simple everyday choices, like choosing products which contain only sustainably sourced palm oil, can have a massive impact on the future of these remarkable animals.”

Here in the UK, Chester Zoo is campaigning against the use of unsustainable palm oil in everyday household and food items, working with national governmental organisations and industries using palm oil to adopt Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) practices and raise awareness of the devastating effects unsustainable palm oil has on wildlife. Visit www.actforwildlife.org.uk/orangutans to join the fight for orangutans.

Mother Orangutan Dotes On Baby Móric at Budapest Zoo


Visitors to the Budapest Zoo Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert are daily treated to the most moving moments as mother Lia dotes on her month-old infant Móric. Móric was born in early August. Other orangutan family members also appear in this short clip. For a few moments, even three-year-old gorilla Indigo, who lives next door, is seen observing their dynamics with curiosity.

Sedgwick County Zoo Celebrates Lovely New Flower


A Sumatran Orangutan named Daisy gave birth to a healthy baby girl at 8:14 a.m. on September 7 at Sedgwick County Zoo.

Daisy began labor during the afternoon of September 6. After laboring naturally through the night, she encountered complications and the decision was made to deliver the baby via C-section.

Dr. Laura Whisler and Dr. Janna Chibry of College Hill, OB-GYN have consulted with the Sedgwick County Zoo on all great ape pregnancies since 2013, and they were on hand to perform the delivery of Daisy’s baby on September 7. In keeping with the flower theme, the new baby has been named Lily.

Following Lily’s birth, Daisy was in quite a bit of pain from the delivery, and both mom and baby were at high risk for infection and other complications. Lily required close medical observation and daily injections of antibiotics to treat a systemic bacterial infection. Daisy required time for her incision to heal. A team of three keepers has been taking shifts to care for Lily day and night.

Newborn Orangutans are born with the ability to hold themselves to their mothers by clinging to their fur. In order to help Lily hone this instinct, her three keepers wear handmade shirts with fleece fringe attached to simulate mom Daisy’s long fur.



4_42211158_10156632770353058_6441542360848400384_oPhoto Credits: Sedgwick County Zoo

Both mom and baby will remain behind the scenes for some time to allow for recovery and bonding. In the meantime, the Zoo will post regular updates on Facebook and Instagram.

This is the third baby for 36-year-old Daisy and the third for 22-year-old dad, Panji. This is also an important birth for the Sumatran Orangutan population. Sumatran Orangutans are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, largely due to deforestation for palm oil plantations.

(More great pics below the fold!)

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New Orangutan a First for Virginia Zoo

Photo 2 Virginia Zoo Baby Orangutan

The Virginia Zoo is celebrating their first Bornean Orangutan birth!

Mom, Dara, gave birth to her baby just before midnight on June 22, behind the scenes in her indoor den. This is the first offspring for both 18-year-old Dara and her 15-year-old mate, Solaris.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the news of our new orangutan baby,” said Greg Bockheim, the Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “I’m proud of our Zoo Keepers and Vet Team who have been prepping, training and waiting for this moment for months, and now their hard work has paid off. It’s a big success to contribute this significant birth to the Zoo community and the critically endangered species as a whole,” Bockheim added.

Photo 1 Virginia Zoo Baby Orangutan

Photo 3 Virginia Zoo Baby OrangutanPhoto Credits: Virginia Zoo

Since Dara had her baby in her den, staff has decided to keep them indoors to let mom and baby bond without interruption.

The exact weight and sex of the baby have not yet been determined. Staff will not intervene or separate the baby from Dara unless an issue arises where the baby needs assistance and veterinary attention.

“Dara is doing a great job caring for her newborn,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the Zoo’s Veterinarian. “The pair spend their time nursing, resting and snuggling in their den,” Clabbers added.

An Orangutan infant is completely dependent on the mother until at least two years old, typically nursing for several more years beyond that age. Offspring tend to stay close to their mothers for up to 10 years or more.

With the newborn, the Zoo now has five Orangutans: Dara and her baby, Solaris, 38-year-old female Pepper and 36-year-old male Schnitz.

Tune into the Zoo’s social media accounts for updates and information regarding its name in the coming weeks.

The species originates in tropical and swamp forests in Asia, specifically on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The origin of the word “Orangutan” is from Malay and Indonesian words, meaning “Person of the Forest.” These arboreal primates are relatively large and stand between 3 and 4.5 feet tall, and can weigh up to 220 pounds. They are widely known for their vibrant, orange-colored hair. Both Bornean and Sumatran Orangutans are classified by the IUCN as “Critically Endangered”.

Sumatran Orangutan Newborn Stays Close to Mom

1_cheyenne orangutan 2

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran Orangutan on June 6. The baby is the third offspring for 30-year-old mom, Sumagu, and 27-year-old dad, Baka.

The Zoo reports that mother and baby will be in their regular exhibit in Primate World, which will be open for guests. Depending on where Sumagu decides to spend time, she and the baby may or may not be visible to guests.

Thus far, the pair is healthy and bonding well, so the Zoo’s staff has not intervened to determine the sex of the baby or any other details. The baby was clinging strongly to Sumagu within minutes after birth. According to keepers, Sumagu came over to animal and vet staff to take some fruit, and they could tell she had done a great job cleaning the baby up quickly. She then spent some time rearranging her nest after the birth. The pair has also been observed successfully nursing.

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4_cheyenne orangutan 5Photo Credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Sumagu’s two previous offspring were both males: Makan, born in January 2003 and Godek, born in February 2009. Both of them now make their homes at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos.

The Zoo’s last Orangutan birth was Bornean Orangutan, Ember, who is now 3 1/2 years old.

Gestation for Orangutans lasts an average of 245 days, or a little over eight months.

In the wild, Orangutan fathers do not usually participate in raising offspring, but they tend to do well in zoos where there isn’t competition for food and mates. Baka revealed great fatherly instincts with his previous two offspring. Keepers are hopeful this will be the case with this new little one, but just to be sure, he will be kept separated from mom and baby for a short time.

Sumagu and Baka’s wild Sumatran Orangutan counterparts are currently classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Non-sustainable palm oil production is fueling destruction of the rainforest habitat of Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, pushing those endangered species even closer to extinction. Found in cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, pet food and many other products, palm oil is now the most widely produced edible oil.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is offering a way to make a difference during this crisis by choosing the products using their sustainable palm oil shopping app. The app helps consumers make responsible decisions about the food and health/beauty products purchased every day – just scan a product in the app, and it will tell you how that company is doing with using responsibly sourced palm oil for their products. To download the app, or to learn more about the palm oil crisis, visit: www.cmzoo.org/palmoil .

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6_cheyenne orangutan 7

More Sunshine for Denver Zoo’s Orangutans


Denver Zoo’s six-week-old Sumatran Orangutan has been enjoying the warmer spring weather. Keepers have seen the little female several times in the outdoor exhibit, clinging tightly to mom.

The new baby was born March 25 to mom, Nias, and dad, Berani. The infant's unique name, Cerah, means “bright” in Indonesian and is often used to refer to sunshine.

(ZooBorns shared news and pics of Cerah’s arrival in an article from April: “Denver Zoo Celebrates the ‘Sunshine’ of Spring”)

Mom, Nias, is 29-years-old and arrived at Denver Zoo in 2005. Berani is 25-years-old and arrived in 2017. The two were paired together under recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® Program, which oversees the population management of select species within AZA member institutions and enhances conservation of those species in the wild. The coupling proved to be a fast success, as Nias and Berani met in July of 2017 and conceived Cerah less than a month later.



4_32271308_10156550044412122_7603192785188945920_oPhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

The Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) is one of the world’s most endangered great apes. It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of palm oil plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest. There is intense demand for the oil, which features in all sorts of every day products, throughout the world, from food to cleaning materials and cosmetics.

The species currently has an official classification of “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Mischievous Orangutan Caught on Camera

3_Mischievous Sumatran orangutan Tuti pesters her aunt in the most adorable way at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo recently shared video of their five-year-old Sumatran Orangutan, named Tuti, pestering her aunt Emma in a most mischievous way.

Thirty-year-old Emma gave birth to a female, Kesuma, on December 18. (See the ZooBorns feature on Kesuma: “Chester Zoo Introduces Early Spring ‘Flower’).

Chester Zoo’s adorable new footage shows the attention-seeking Tuti using multiple sticks to “wind up” new-mum Emma, as she looks to play with her baby cousin.

2_Mischievous Sumatran orangutan Tuti pesters her aunt in the most adorable way at Chester Zoo (1)

1_Mischievous Sumatran orangutan Tuti pesters her aunt in the most adorable way at Chester Zoo

4_Adorable video shows young orangutan poking her aunt with sticks at Chester ZooPhoto & Video Credits: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is currently the only zoo in mainland Britain that cares for Sumatran Orangutans, which can be found in its South East Asian Islands habitat.

Sumatran Orangutans (Pongo abelii) are one of the world’s most endangered great apes and are currently listed as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with recent estimates suggesting just 14,000 remain in the wild.

It is among the many species being pushed to the brink of extinction in South East Asia by hunting, forest clearance and the planting of oil palm plantations, which are destroying vast areas of rainforest.

Unfortunately, there is an intense demand for palm oil, which can be found in more than 50% of every day products in the UK, and around the world, including food, cleaning and cosmetic goods.

Cat Barton, Field Conservation Manager at Chester Zoo, said, “All species of Orangutan are under enormous pressure in the wild, as their forest homes are cleared to make way for oil palm plantations. Right now we are fighting for these amazing animals in South East Asia – helping restore depleted forests and building bridges so Orangutans can roam between forests freely.”

“We can all help make a huge difference here in the UK by being vigilant when shopping in supermarkets and checking labels to make sure products only contain sustainable palm oil. It’s a small action that will, in time, make a huge difference to their future. Without urgent action they could be the first great apes to go extinct. We just cannot let that happen.”

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