An orangutan on the Critically Endangered Species List has given birth to an adorable new addition at the Sacramento Zoo. A 19-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Indah gave birth to a male infant on May 1.
Sharing photos of the infant, the zoo writes on Facebook that both mother and son are doing well, but that Indah was having some issues with nursing the baby, so they are currently separated.
“After the birth of the infant, care staff began around the clock observations to be certain everything was going smoothly with the pair,” they wrote. “While Indah’s behavior was appropriate, the first-time mother was having difficulty nursing, and the team made the decision to intervene in order to provide the infant with supplemental care. The baby is currently receiving around the clock care by animal care and veterinary staff while the team is continuously reevaluating plans to reunite the infant with Indah. The timeframe for reintroduction is unknown at this time, but that remains the ultimate goal.”
The mother and infant are being cared for behind the scenes at the zoo and are not currently on view for the public, but the zoo says they will continue to keep the community informed on their well-being. In the meantime, though, the zoo is sharing photos of the adorable baby on social media:
The first orangutan birth at the Sacramento Zoo since 1981, this is also big news for the Sumatran species, as the zoo says there are currently only 79 Sumatran orangutans in human care in the United States.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, there are currently 14,613 Sumatran orangutans in the world, making them critically endangered.
Sumatran orangutans live in the trees of tropical rainforests. There are currently nine populations of Sumatran orangutans, but the WWF says only seven have “prospects of long-term viability, each with an estimated 250 or more individuals.”
This is the second critically endangered orangutan born at a U.S. zoo in the past year, with the Oregon Zoo welcoming a Bornean orangutan in April 2022.
The Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia also recently welcomed an infant orangutan and went viral on social media when a zookeeper taught the little one’s mother how to breastfeed.
Congratulations to the Sacramento Zoo and new mom, Indah!