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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:

Niu-li, has been cared for around the clock and is developing at a wonderful rate. A monthly record of her development can be found below. This week she celebrated her one year birthday at the Zoo with a limited number of visitors who gave her a birthday fruit cake and handmade enrichment toys as presents. 

Bday 1

Bday 2


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Keepers recorded her development as follows:

  • One-month-old: Tried to do a push up and lift her head up.
  • Around three-month-old: Showed her lower front teeth when she smiled.
  • Four-month-old: Began to eat non-staple food such as juice and fruit pulp.
  • Around five-month-old: Grown her upper front teeth and loved to grind her teeth by carrots or apples. She received a pomelo on Mid-autumn Festival.
  • Six-month-old: Began to take in diverse vegetables and fruits in daily diet. She got her first jack-o-lantern on Halloween.
  • Eight-month-old: Became a long hair flowing beauty.
  • One-year-old: Has become a good tree climber and weights over 6 kg.

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