Miri the Bornean Orangutan is Expecting
Friday, May 31, 2013
Newborn ape will be the second orangutan born at the Zoo in 2013
Miri’s 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. Miri’s third pregnancy appears to be progressing normally, and animal care professionals continue to monitor her condition via ultrasound.
“We’re very excited about Miri’s pregnancy. Orangutans and their fellow great apes are species very much in need of conservation action, and newborn animals have a unique way of engaging public interest in protecting their counterparts in the wild,” said Dwight Lawson, PhD, Deputy Director. “Miri is an excellent mother, and we’re looking forward to watching her little one grow.”
Found only on the island of Borneo, which is divided between the countries of Indonesia and Malaysia, Bornean orangutans can be distinguished from Sumatran orangutans by their darker hair and skin. While the Bornean apes 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 and human encroachment. Experts predict that both orangutan species could be extinct within 10 years without targeted conservation efforts.
Miri’s infant’s father, 19-year-old Sulango, recently traveled to the Columbus Zoo per breeding recommendation of the Orangutan Species Survival Plan, which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population of orangutans living in North American zoos. Lori Perkins, Vice President of Collections at Zoo Atlanta, serves as the program’s national chair.
Sulango won’t meet his newest offspring, but another Zoo Atlanta orangutan recently met his firstborn. Sumatran orangutan Benny, father of 4-month-old Pongo, has been reunited with Blaze and their son, and the trio has been exploring their outdoor habitat together. Look for Benny, Pongo and Blaze in the Zoo’s Asian Forest. Get daily updates on their adventures on the Orangutan Baby Updates blog on www.zooatlanta.org and on weekends on Facebook.