A healthy baby Sumatran Orangutan was delivered by Caesarean section on January 7, and the Como Zoo is celebrating this precious arrival.
Photo Credit: Como Zoo
An entire team of 15 medical professionals was on hand to deliver 27-year-old Markisa’s baby. The staff had known for some time that Markisa would require a C-section, because she had one in the past. The baby weighed nearly three and a half pounds, which is a robust weight for an infant Orangutan. The baby was delivered at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Micky Trent, the lead veterinarian for Como Zoo, with the consultation of an extensive pre-appointed medical team comprised of human obstetricians, neonatologists, and veterinary anesthesiologists.
“C-sections are very rare in that there are only about a dozen recorded within the International Orangutan Studbook that has tracked more than 1,200 births in captivity,” said Como Zoo primate keeper Megan Elder, who serves as the International Studbook Keeper for the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums and the Vice-Chair for the North America Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP).
This is a very important birth both for the Como Zoo and for the species. Markisa was recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan SSP because of her status as one of the most genetically valuable female Sumatran Orangutans in North America.
Markisa returned to Como Zoo and is recovering from her procedure. The newborn is being bottle-fed by zoo staff during the time she is separated from Markisa. The baby will be introduced to Markisa over the course of several weeks.
About 200 Orangutans are currently on exhibit in zoos throughout the U.S. Their native population, found primarily in Sumatra and Borneo, has dwindled due to commercial logging, agriculture, hunting and poaching –all of which put the species under the threat of extinction.
See more photos of the baby Orangutan below.