Bornean orangutan born at Zoo Atlanta
Monday, September 16, 2013
Fans can prepare to coo over a brand-new redhead with a powerful conservation message
ATLANTA – September 16, 2013 – The Bornean orangutan infant born to Miri on September 14, 2013, appears to be healthy and is doing well in his mother’s care. The three-time mother and her new offspring, who has been confirmed to be male, will begin exploring their outdoor habitat in the Zoo’s Asian Forest on September 16.
Miri, 21, is an experienced mother. Her first offspring, 9-year-old male Satu, was the first Bornean orangutan born at Zoo Atlanta. Her second, male Sandar, born in 2010, did not survive infancy as a result of physical and developmental complications. The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams have been monitoring Miri’s third pregnancy carefully via ultrasound.
“We’re thrilled to welcome another adorable redhead to the Zoo family. People really make connections with infant apes,” said Raymond B. King, President and CEO. “Miri is an outstanding mother, and we look forward to watching her teach this little one everything she knows.”
The infant’s father, 20-year-old Sulango, now resides at the Columbus Zoo per recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), which seeks to maintain self-sustaining, genetically diverse orangutan populations within accredited North American zoos. Lori Perkins, Vice President of Collections at Zoo Atlanta, serves as the program’s national chair. Zoo Atlanta is home to the nation’s largest zoological collection of orangutans, now with 14 individuals.
While Bornean orangutans outnumber their Sumatran counterparts in the wild, both species are endangered and are experiencing dramatic population declines as a result of habitat loss, over-harvesting of timber for palm oil plantations, and human encroachment. Experts predict that Sumatran orangutans could be extinct in the wild within 10 years without targeted conservation efforts.
Members and guests can expect to see Miri and her youngster together for quite some time. Orangutans have an extraordinarily long dependent childhood and are second to humans in the length of time juveniles stay with their mothers.
The newborn is the second orangutan born at Zoo Atlanta in 2013 and the sixth born into the Orangutan SSP program in North America this year. Miri’s infant also has a Sumatran counterpart, Pongo, born in January 2013. Pongo can be seen on exhibit with his mother, Blaze, and father, Benny. Follow the young orangutans and their fellow primates on the Pongo’s Primates blog on www.zooatlanta.org.
Miri’s new son is the latest in an extraordinary series of high-profile births of endangered or critically endangered species at Zoo Atlanta in 2013. In addition to Miri’s infant and Pongo the orangutans, exciting new arrivals have included the Zoo’s first eastern black rhino calf, born in August; two western lowland gorilla infants, born in March and August; and a pair of giant panda twins, born in July. Guests may now be treated to sightings of all but the giant panda cubs, who will be on exhibit in late fall. Celebrate all of the adorable members of the Zoo’s expanding nursery class with special activities highlighting Zoo babies this weekend; stay tuned for details.