Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, WI are thrilled to announce the newest addition to their Zoo family; a critically endangered Bornean Orangutan! Chelsea’s baby arrived early Saturday morning, June 11, after a very smooth labor. Once the baby arrived, Chelsea immediately held it against her body, cleaned it, and she has been displaying all the maternal behaviors staff want to see at this stage. Infant orangutans are very small, usually only weighing about 3 pounds at birth, and are completely dependent on their mother for the first few years of their life. Chelsea has been doing such a good job of taking care of her baby, they didn’t immediately know the baby’s sex. Both Chelsea and the baby were doing well and sharing private bonding time together, behind the scenes in the Zoo’s Primate building.
Henry Vilas Zoo
The baby Bornean Orangutan, at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, has reached an important milestone in her growth and development. She recently turned 100 days old!
Henry Vilas Zoo excitedly announced the infant’s birth on April 9. The healthy female was born to first-time parents Kawan and Datu, and she was named Keju (‘kay-joo’), Malay for “cheese”.
“We are excited to have Keju as part of our zoo family,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “No matter where she goes in life, her name is a reminder that she is a true Wisconsinite. We take great pride in the work we do to protect endangered species.”
Keju is important to the national effort to maintain a population of this endangered species, through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). Orangutans are found only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are the only great ape found in Asia. Bornean Orangutans are classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and Sumatran Orangutans are considered “Critically Endangered”, with less than 6,000 individuals left in Sumatra.