Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is celebrating three generations of Bornean Orangutans after the birth of two infants in just two months.
Photo 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.