Endangered orangutan born at Indiana zoo

AP News
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Posted: Nov 26, 2014 12:54 PM
Endangered orangutan born at Indiana zoo

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — There's a new, hairy baby at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. And she's especially rare.

An endangered Sumatran orangutan gave birth to a healthy female on Saturday, and the newborn was first seen nursing Sunday, officials at the Indiana zoo said.

Less than 7,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild, with about 320 in zoos worldwide.

The birth was the first for the zoo's 19-year-old female orangutan, Tara, who zookeepers expected to give birth between mid-November and early December.

Because she has never seen another female caring for an infant, officials were concerned she might not know how to care for her newborn, but "Tara is doing everything she should to care for her baby," animal curator Mark Weldon said.

"We're thrilled with the outcome so far," he said. "Tara is proving to be a good mother."

The baby, who has yet to be named, is the only Sumatran orangutan born in the United States this year, although two other orangutans also are pregnant, according to the zoo.

Visitors will have their first chance to see the new baby when the zoo opens for the season on April 25. The baby's father is Tengku, the zoo's 28-year-old male orangutan.