Update (March 25, 2016)– The Indianapolis Zoo announced Friday that the baby orangutan is a girl!
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 24, 2016) — The Indianapolis Zoo announced the first orangutan birth for the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center.
The Sumatran orangutan was born at 5:07 p.m. on Wednesday. Zoo officials said the mother, 23-year-old Sirih, and baby are doing fine. Orangutan mothers typically spend seven to ten years actively bringing up a baby. She’ll teach the youngster to climb, build nests and interact with the surroundings.
“This baby orangutan gives us special reason to be joyful.” said Dr. Rob Shumaker, executive vice president and Zoo director. “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 in the wild with only thousands left.”
Sirih and first-time father, 14-year-old Basan, were recommended as a breeding pair through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, a program ensuring a sustainable, genetically diverse and demographically varied AZA population.
Sirih is holding her baby close, so gender is still to be determined.
The zoo announced in November that Sirih was pregnant.
The IPL building on Monument Circle lit up with a special message Thursday morning congratulating the zoo on the birth.