The Sacramento Zoo announced on Monday that a Sumatran orangutan has given birth to a healthy infant, marking the first orangutan birth at the zoo since 1981. The male baby was born on May 1st, and both the 19-year-old mother, Indah, and her newborn are reported to be in good health.
The birth was a planned event as part of the zoo’s conservation efforts for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan species. With only 79 Sumatran orangutans in human care across the United States and the wild population facing continuous decline, every birth is considered a significant success for the species.
Indah, who arrived at the Sacramento Zoo in 2017, was brought with the intention of breeding with Makan, the zoo’s male orangutan, as part of a species survival plan. The zookeepers and a team of veterinarians from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine have been closely monitoring and assisting the mother and child since the birth. They noticed that Indah was having difficulty nursing, so they intervened to provide extra care to the infant while ensuring constant visual contact with the mother.
The baby orangutan will receive around-the-clock care as the team plans for their eventual reunion with the mother. The decision to separate the infant from Indah was made based on careful observation and interaction between the staff and the mother-infant pair during the critical early days, with a primary focus on the health and well-being of both individuals.
While the baby and mother will not be available for public viewing at the moment, the zoo has not yet announced a name for the newborn. The birth is celebrated as a significant milestone in orangutan conservation and serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting these endangered species.
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