(KTXL) — The Sacramento Zoo welcomed a newborn orangutan on May 1, the first one born at the zoo since 1981.
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, so the birth of the male infant is a “monumental success” for the species, the zoo said in a statement.
The zoo said Indah, the infant’s mother, arrived in 2017 to be a mate for the zoo’s male orangutan. According to the zoo, her move there was part of a Species Survival Plan recommendation.
Before the infant’s birth, the zookeepers spent several years “conditioning behaviors” that would allow them to help with infant rearing if needed.
The work became crucial as Indah had trouble nursing, and zookeepers along with veterinarians from UC Davis stepped in to help raise the infant while in view of the mother.
“Our decision to take the infant from Indah to offer care and feeding was done at a critical time for the infant based on intense staff observations and interaction with Indah and the infant in the early critical days, with an absolute focus on the health of the mother and infant,” said Matt McKim, Director of Animal Care with the Sacramento Zoo.
Those visiting the zoo can not yet see Indah and her infant as they remain under the care of zookeepers and veterinarians.