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


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-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


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.


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

Baby Capy

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

O face

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:

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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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Baby Orangutan Shares a Close Bond with Mom


Baby Sumatran Orangutan Tripa shares a close relationship with his mom – in fact, Emma has rarely let her baby out of sight since his birth on October 19 at the United Kingdom’s Chester Zoo.

Like all Orangutan infants, Tripa completely depends on his mother for food, transportation, and lots of tender loving care.  Orangutans have the longest childhood of all animals other than humans, with young Orangutans spending up to eight years with their mothers.

Chin to chin


Photo Credits:  Phil Noble/Reuters, Peter Byrne/PA, Chester Zoo

Emma and Puluh, Tripa’s father, are part of the European Endangered Species Programme, which coordinates breeding between zoos to maintain genetic diversity in endangered species.

Conservationists estimate that there are fewer than 7,000 Sumatran Orangutans remaining on the Indonesian island of Sumatra – the only place in the entire world where this Orangutan subspecies exists.  Tremendous pressure from illegal logging, illegal palm oil plantations, and poaching have driven wild Orangutan populations to the brink of extinction, making zoo breeding programs essential to their survival.

UPDATE! Baby Orangutan at Zoo Atlanta Holds Hands with Mom

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This male baby Sumatran Orangutan was born on January 10 at Zoo Atlanta by Caesarian section, which is quite unusual -- it was one of only three to be performed on Sumatran Orangutans in recent years. You can read all about that HERE on ZooBorns. Mom Blaze has recovered and reintroduction of her baby has been a step-by-step process that has been going smoothly. The baby's activities in the Orangutan building have helped him to develop his motor functions and his senses. Every week he's more mobile, and today he weighed almost 6.4 pounds (2.90 kg)!

Due to the Caesarian, the baby could not stay with Mom until she healed. Keepers began working with the baby as a mother would, and in short order, they began reintroduction of the two via controlled interaction. Soon Blaze became very eager to see the baby and engaged in focused connection with him. She lay face to face looking at him for long periods and seemed fascinated by his hair, grooming him several times, touching his head and back repeatedly. Blaze gained confidence around him and began to gently pick him up, moving very slowly to place him in a pile of hay. At times she made cooing vocalizations and was playful with the baby. Perhaps one of the most tender moments was when Blaze reached out to hold her baby's hand! 

Orang hand

Orang meet
Photo Credit: Zoo Atlanta 

CLICK HERE to read regular updates on the baby's progress on the Zoo Atlanta website. It is quite a compelling story and a wonderful way to learn about this species, as well as tracking Mom and baby's progress.

See pictures and read more below the fold:

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