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).

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Baby Orangutan Thriving at Taipei Zoo at One Year Old

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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.

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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! 

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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.

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Baby Orangutan Makes a Dramatic Entry at Zoo Atlanta

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A male Sumatran Orangutan infant born at Zoo Atlanta on January 10 came into the world in an unusual way:  he was delivered by Caesarean section with the help of human obstetricians, neonatologists, and veterinary anesthesiologists.   This Caesarian section is one of only three to be performed on Sumatran Orangutans in recent years. 

Zoo Atlanta’s animal care staff planned for this important delivery for months.  The baby’s 16-year-old mother, Blaze, is a small-bodied female, and she had a previous infant who did not survive the birth process, possibly due to Blaze’s small size.

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Photo Credits:  Zoo Atlanta

The Caesarian section was performed by the Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team in conjunction with a human obstetrical team, a veterinary anesthesia team, and a human neonatal team (including a respiratory therapist, nurse, and neonatal cardiac specialist), all from nearby hospitals and universities.

"It was an exciting honor to be included in this team of specialists to help Blaze give birth successfully," said Sandy Jun, MD, of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  "It was very rewarding to use our human neonatal skills to deliver this orangutan newborn safely, and we were glad to find that many of those skills translated seamlessly across species. It is not something we will forget."

Blaze appears to be recovering normally from the procedure, and her infant is currently in a nursery unit in the care of the Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Team and primate care professionals. The team hopes to reintroduce the infant to Blaze as soon as possible so that the new mother may begin bonding with her newborn.

“We’re delighted that Blaze’s infant has arrived safely, and that infant and mother seem to be doing well,” said Raymond King, President and CEO. “We’re doubly grateful for the support and participation of such a wide range of outside medical experts, all coming together with our team to follow an extremely well-executed plan with a superb level of professionalism and dedication.” 

Blaze, who was trained to participate in voluntary ultrasounds throughout her pregnancy, has been under round-the-clock observation since her birth window began on January 2. 

The infant’s father, 33-year-old Benny, has been temporarily separated from Blaze but will be reunited with her and his new offspring soon. Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest zoological collection of Orangutans, now with 14 individuals.

Now believed to number fewer than 7,000 in the wild, Sumatran Orangutan populations have declined drastically in recent years as a result of habitat conversion to palm oil plantations, over-harvesting of timber, and human encroachment. Without targeted conservation efforts, experts predict that the species could be extinct in the wild within 10 years. 


Aurora, Houston Zoo's Orphaned Baby Orangutan, Gets a Mom


After months of tender loving care and sleepless nights, a team of 50 trained Houston Zoo care givers who have been hand-raising baby orangutan Aurora, achieved its ultimate goal – Aurora’s ‘adoption’ by the Zoo’s experienced surrogate orangutan mom Cheyenne.

Aurora was born on March 2 of 2011. After the first 12 hours, birth mom Kelly abandoned the infant and refused repeated attempts by zoo staff to return the baby to her. Concerned for Aurora’s welfare, the primate care team made the decision to hand rear the baby.

For 9 months, always in view of the Zoo’s other orangutans, a total 50 different volunteers assisted the Houston Zoo’s primate care team in that process. Aurora clung to her care givers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can see a remarkable video about that process in our ZooBorns article published last April. When Aurora was thriving and ready to move on, the care team closely monitored Kelly and Cheyenne to gauge their interest in the baby.

“As Aurora became more independent of her care givers, we taught her to go through what’s called a ‘creep door’, a very small opening in doors between rooms in the off-exhibit night house,” said Killam.

On December 28, the creep door between Cheyenne and Aurora was opened for the first time. “Aurora chose not to go completely through it, instead touching and playing with Cheyenne, who reached her arm through,” said Killam. The next day, Cheyenne chose not to play with Aurora through the creep door, but instead sat just outside it. She waited patiently until Aurora came through the on her own and then Cheyenne picked Aurora up and carried her across the room.  

Cheyenne carried Aurora around for the next 7 hours, even allowing Aurora to ride on her head. The two shared produce and cereal and fruit juice together; the primate care team was able to give Aurora her bottles right next to Cheyenne. Several times Cheyenne would do somersaults around Aurora as the little orangutan watched in amazement. “It was a wonderful day,” said Killam. 

The two can now be seen in the outdoor habitat together and all is well.



Photo Credits: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

Orange is In This Fall!


Los Angeles Zoo's little Bornean Orangutan baby is the star attraction these days. She's the second baby for mom Kalim, who is one of four adult females in their Red Ape Rainforest. Father to the new arrival is Minyak, one of two Orangutan males at the Zoo. 

Orangutans are native to the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra.  In the Malay language orang means person and utan means forest.  Decked out in long, shaggy, orange-red hair, orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling mammals. Bornean orangutans are endangered and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered.  In the last 60 years, it’s estimated that there has been more than a 50 percent decline in the orangutan population.  This decline is primarily attributed to habitat loss.

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Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama

Zoo"Born"ean Orangutan at L.A. Zoo!


Orange is everywhere to be found at the Los Angeles Zoo this Halloween season starting with the newest orange-red, shaggy haired addition to the Red Ape Rainforest – a newly born Bornean Orangutan. This is the second baby for the Zoo’s female Bornean Orangutan, Kalim. She is one of four adult females in the Red Ape Rainforest. Father to the new arrival is Minyak, one of  two orangutan males at the Zoo. Guests can see the baby Orangutan and her older sister Berani who was born in 2005.


Photo credits: Tad Motoyama


Orangutans are native to the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra.  In the Malay language orang means person and utan means forest.  Decked out in long, shaggy, orange-red hair, orangutans are the largest tree-dwelling mammals. Bornean orangutans are endangered and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered.  In the last 60 years, it’s estimated that there has been more than a 50 percent decline in the orangutan population.  This decline is primarily attributed to habitat loss.

Hand-rearing a Baby Orangutan at Sedgwick County Zoo

Baby orangutan clinging to keeper at Sedgwick County Zoo

It’s a boy! On May 19th, the Sedgwick County Zoo welcomed a baby Orangutan to mother Daisy. Unfortunately Daisy did not show much interest in caring for her newborn so the baby is now being raised by hand with round-the-clock keeper care. However, Zoo officials aren't giving up and are coaching Daisy on mothering behaviors in the hopes of returning the baby to her care soon. Zookeeper Devin Bailey explained, ”Being hand-raised might make the infant more people-oriented like his mother. Zookeepers want to make sure that this infant orangutan knows he’s an orangutan. Zookeepers are providing for the physical and psychological well-being of the orangutan instead of mom, for now. However, keepers are still working on maternal care behaviors with Daisy and are thinking positive. We believe we’re on the right track and hope that Daisy might show more interest in taking on some of her infant care responsibilities,” Bailey said. "Daisy is showing some progress. She’s interested. She’s not mean. But she’s just not sure if she should pick up this new arrival"

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