Sumatran Orangutan Born at Audubon Zoo
The much-anticipated infant orangutan has arrived. Feliz, the matriarch of Audubon Zoo’s Sumatran orangutan group, gave birth at 3:25 a.m. this morning (July 17).
This is Feliz’s second pregnancy — the Zoo welcomed her first offspring, Menari, in 2009. In addition to Feliz and Menari, the Zoo’s Sumatran orangutan habitat is also home to juvenile female Reese and male Jambi.
“We couldn’t be prouder of Feliz for showing such great signs taking care of the new infant. More importantly, with this birth we hope zoo visitors will connect with a species on the brink of extinction and want to start making the little changes in their lives to help save them,” says Curator of Primates and Sea Lions at Audubon Zoo Courtney Eparvier.
Feliz and the infant are in a special room behind-the-scenes, taking time to bond before they are introduced to Zoo visitors. Audubon’s goal is for Feliz to raise the offspring with minimal intervention.
Animal care staff will keep a close eye on Feliz and the new infant. So far things are going well — the birth was natural and uneventful, and so far Feliz is an attentive mom. The next 72 hours are critical as the newborn learns to nurse.
This pregnancy is the result of the successful breeding of Feliz and Jambi, Audubon’s male orangutan who recently came to the zoo from Hannover Zoo in Germany. Audubon's orangutans are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP).
Sumatran orangutans have been assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered and threatened with extinction — there are fewer than 14,000 living in the wild, and their numbers are declining, mainly due to the spread of palm oil plantations into their forest habitat.
The orangutan birth at Audubon Zoo today is an important conservation milestone in ensuring the sustainability of such an important species.
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Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.