Sirih the Sumatran orangutan gave birth to a healthy newborn at 5:07 p.m. Wednesday. Zoo staff say both mom and baby are doing well.
This is the first orangutan birth for the Indianapolis Zoo. Orangutan births in the United States are extremely rare, because there aren’t enough resources to support very many orangutan infants.
Sirih gave birth in an area away from view of zoo visitors. Staff say other orangutans at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center watched with curiosity during and after the delivery.
Sirih’s baby is here! Born at 5:07pm March 23, mom and baby are doing well. Stay tuned for updates! bit.ly/1lQYXKoPosted by Indianapolis Zoo on Thursday, March 24, 2016
“This baby orangutan gives us special reason to be joyful,” said Rob Shumaker, executive vice president and zoo director, in a statement. “We are thrilled for the many visitors who will care more deeply for orangutans and their conservation by watching the baby grow, learn and thrive.”
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered. There are less than 7,000 left in the wild, and only about 200 in captivity in the United States.
Orangutan mothers spend seven to ten years actively bringing up a baby. This is Sirih’s second baby, and the first offspring for the father, 14-year-old Basan, also a resident of the Indianapolis Zoo.
Sirih and baby will remain in a private area for the time being, but will soon join the other zoo babies, which include Mshangao, a baby giraffe born in January.