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