Another baby arrives at the Oregon Zoo: Welcome new Bornean orangutan baby
The Oregon Zoo’s primate family grew by a few pounds on April 13 as 21-year-old Bornean orangutan Kitra gave birth to a new baby, adding to the world population of this critically endangered species.
“We’re all pretty excited about it,” said Kate Gilmore, who oversees the zoo’s primate area. “It’s great to see Kitra taking such good care of her baby. There’s still a lot that could happen, so we’re being very cautious and giving her as much quiet time as possible. But so far she seems to be taking to motherhood quite well.”
Kitra’s care team worked with her throughout her pregnancy to help her prepare for motherhood, including training her for voluntary ultrasounds so vet staff could closely monitor her progress. Using orangutan stuffies made by zoo volunteers, they taught her how to hold her baby properly to nurse, and how to present her baby to care staff once she feels ready, so they can check on the young orangutan’s health and well-being.
Kitra and her baby are off-view in a private maternity area to allow the new family a comfortable place to bond. Animal-care staff have taken a hands-off approach but are closely monitoring the pair to make sure everything continues to go well. Once they are feeling comfortable and healthy, staff will determine whether they are ready for a public debut.
Kitra moved to the Oregon Zoo in 2015 from Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, joining male orangutan Bob, the baby’s father, who had arrived from South Carolina’s Greenville Zoo the previous year. The moves were based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for orangutans.
Orangutans are critically endangered, largely because of habitat loss driven by logging and the conversion of forests into oil palm plantations.
For more zoo animal stories, visit oregonzoo.org