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.
After two months of introductions, Blaze finally reached a curious hand out toward the little baby.
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!
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)
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