A few months back we brought you the story of Karta an orangutan who was pregnant at Adelaide Zoo. You can find that story here – Another chance at parenting for Adelaide Zoo orangutan
It is with a heavy hear today that we announce her infant did not survive. It is believed the infant was stillborn. Adelaide Zoo veterinarian, Ian Smith said, “Similar to humans, complications at birth or within a few days after birth are not unusual for Great Apes, however, unlike human births, there is less opportunity for medical intervention. The exact cause of death is unknown at this point as the infant is still with Karta, however this will be determined in the coming days when we are able to perform a full veterinary investigation.”
For karta the loss is devastating. She has now lost 6 infants in her 32 years. Keepers discovered in 2011 that her nipples were too small meaning she couldn’t feed her infants. They began training her so she could keep the baby while keepers fed it.
Then in 2013 Karta has an infant under the new plan. Unfortunately it came out with the umbilical cord around its neck and never took a breath. Karta spent days grieving the birth. This was filmed for a documentary titled ‘great expectations.’
Keepers are giving her and her partner Kluet time off exhibit until they feel she is once again ready for public display. Smith said that, “As is the case for many primate species, it is essential Karta and Kluet are given the appropriate time and space to mourn the loss of their infant. Our main concern now is to ensure the pair has the necessary support to help them through this period and to make sure they feel comfortable and secure.”
Vets intend on completing a post mortem in the next few days to determine a cause of death. This may take a while though as last time Karta took days to finally let go of the baby.
People are pouring out their feelings on social media sharing their condolences for karta and her family of keepers. You can pay your respects on the zoo’s facebook page here- Adelaide Zoo Facebook