Kecil was raised by his 53 year old surrogate mum Maggie since he was six months old. He was born on January 11, 2014 at Toledo Zoo in Ohio but his mother showed a lack of interest in caring for him. Keepers put months of work into attempting to introduce Kecil back to his mum but it was unsuccessful.
By four months old he had moved to Milwaukee County Zoo where keepers attempted to place him with a surrogate. While she accepted him the pair did not bond as much as keepers hoped leading to him moving to Brookfield Zoo.
Luckily Maggie has taken on Kecil and the pair have bonded well. Keepers allowed the pair time off exhibit for the past few months allowing them to form a close bond.
Associate curator of primates for Brookfield Zoo, Craig Demitros said, “We are thrilled with Kecil’s progress, as well as the relationship that has flourished between him and Maggie. Because it was extremely important that Kecil be raised by an orangutan rather than humans, the animal care staff has dedicated these past 10 months to doing everything possible to ensure his success.”
Maggie and Kecil have bonded well but she hasn’t taken to carrying him like an orangutan mother normally world. Instead she will grab his arm or leg and encourage him to grab onto her while they move about.
He is getting more independent now developing his climbing and coordination skills. Keepers have added extra vines and branches to the Tropic World enclosure so he can navigate on his own. “As he becomes more independent, he does not need Maggie to help him get down from high places any longer, but Maggie is still protective of him, which will be good now that they have access to the main habitat,” added Demitros.
Kecil’s diet is increasing as he moves through life. Most of his nutrition comes from baby cereal and formula which he is given in a bottle. Recently he has been introduced to a myriad of fruits and vegetables.
Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo