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Oh Baby! Orangutan Newborn in New Orleans

The Audubon Zoo in New Orleans welcomed an endangered Sumatran Orangutan, Menari, on June 10th. These photos taken last week give us a sneak peek of the baby in advance of his public debut. Native and endemic to Sumatra, Sumatran Orangutans are smaller and in fact more rare than Bornean Orangutans.


It’s about the best news any zoo can have – Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is celebrating the birth of an
endangered baby Sumatran orangutan!

The baby, a healthy girl name Menari, was born to mom Feliz on June 10, 2009.

Although the baby is active and thriving, Feliz, as a first-time mother, needs assistance caring for her
newborn. Animal staff made the decision to relocate Menari to a nursery at Audubon’s Animal Health Care Center, where the baby is cared for by keepers around-the-clock. Keepers also are running introduction sessions with mom Feliz every day in hopes of re-introducing the baby to the orangutan group soon.

“It’s almost impossible to put a time frame on when the public will be able to see Menari at this point,” said Audubon Zoo vice president and general curator Rick Dietz. “We are making every effort to smooth the way for Menari to be with her family in the orangutan exhibit as soon as possible, but our primary objective right now is the well-being of the baby.”

The name “Menari,” chosen by the baby’s keepers, means “dance” in Indonesian. Orangutans are native to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia. Feliz is twenty years old. She came to Audubon Zoo as a youngster from Brownsville, Texas. The father, Berani, is sixteen years old and came to Audubon from the Miami Zoo.

The most recent orangutan birth at Audubon Zoo was thirteen years ago – Blaze, born in 1996. Blaze shares the exhibit with Berani and Feliz.

“We have a number of baby animals this summer,” said Dietz. “We have a new young giraffe, a couple of babirusa piglets, some Mississippi gopher frog tadpoles and young birds such as great Argus pheasants, Nicobar pigeons and crested screamers – not to mention the baby T-Rex in Audubon’s Dinosaur Adventure!

We’re inviting everyone out to see how many babies they can spot!”