In the Bahasa Indonesia language Kemala means magic stone. The name was selected in a public competition. It beat the names Aanjay and Cinta. Visitors voted using pennies and Kemala was the name that received the most votes by far.
The zoo raised $12,000 from the competition. $2,000 was from the pennies and $10,000 came as a donation to Como Friends, the non-profit partner of Como Zoo from Johannes Marliem who is a local businessman. His donation will help offset medical and delivery costs of Kemala and her mother Markisa. Having been born in Indonesia Marliem has seen firsthand the importance of work to save orang-utans.
Kemala’s delivery was not the average orangutan birth. The baby was delivered by caesarean section at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Centre. The procedure was conducted by Dr. Mickey Trent, DVM, who is the lead veterinarian for Como Zoo. A medical team of hum obstetricians, neonatologists and veterinary anaesthesiologists were involved in conducted the procedure.
Orangutan C-sections are rare the world over. Of 1,200 recorded births in the orangutan studbook only twelve were C-sections.
Sumatran orang-utans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their Bornean cousins are listed as endangered. Current estimates suggest that within the next 10-20 years we will lost orang-utans in the wild.
This means captive breeding of the species is vital to their survival.
Photo Credit: Como Zoo