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Endangered Orangutan Infant Born at Audubon Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: December 28, 2021 11:42 am

Audubon Zoo Orangutan Infant

A Sumatran orangutan was born on Friday December 24th 2021 at the Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: Amanda Carberry/ Columbus Zoo and Aquairum

Audubon Zoo welcomed a Sumatran orangutan infant on Friday December 24th 2021. It was a bittersweet delivery unfortunately with the infant being a twin. The second twin did not survive having been deceased prior to birth.

Twinning is a rare occurrence in orangutans and only occurs in around 1% of pregnancies.

The first infant was delivered successfully and following an examination by neonatologists was deemed healthy. Menari then rested for a couple of hours and cared for her infant before entering periods of active labor and rest.

Due to concerns with how the birthing process was progressing a decision was made by veterinary staff to intervene. A team of on-call medical professionals, including local OBGYN and neonatology specialists were brought in for intervention.

The team anesthetized Menari and then conducted an ultrasound which determined that the infant was poorly positioned and sadly deceased. It was able to be delivered without an ultrasound being required.

“This is a bittersweet time for our team, but, given the very serious complications with the second infant, we are extremely happy that Menari and the surviving infant are together and doing well,” said Audubon’s Senior Veterinarian Bob MacLean. “There are many risks associated with pregnancy, especially with first-time mothers, but our veterinary team and OBGYN specialists  are very pleased with Menari’s recovery and her natural mothering instincts thus far. We cannot thank our Orangutan Species Survival Plan advisors and institutional colleagues enough for their guidance and expertise.”  

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Menari and her surviving infant are being given time to bond behind the scenes which will also provide vets time to care for them. Staff are monitoring the infant closely and it has been observed nursing well.

This is the first infant for Menari. She has previously observed her mother, Feliz giving birth and caring for her half-sister Bulan born in 2019. She has also seen another orangutan at the zoo, Reese give birth to Madu in February 2021.

The father of the infant, Jambi is also the father of Feliz's and Reese's infant. He came to Audubon Zoo from Hannover Zoo in Germany in 2018.

Jambi has added genetic diversity in to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums breeding program for Sumatran orangutans.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the conservation of this critically endangered species, and I am incredibly proud of our dedicated veterinarians and animal care team,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “The orangutan group at the Zoo serves as ambassadors for their species, teaching guests about the plight of Sumatran orangutans in the wild due to human-wildlife conflict.” 

Sumatran orangutans are classed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is likely this species could become extinct in our lifetimes. Less than 14,000 individuals remain in the wild.

Learn more about Sumatran Orangutans here – Sumatran Orangutan Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Audubon Zoo on their website – Audubon Zoo

A Sumatran orangutan was born on Friday December 24th 2021 at the Audubon Zoo

Photo Credit: SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

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