Baby Orangutan Makes Debut at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo's baby orangutan made her public debut Tuesday morning after being born Dec. 20.

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At 2 weeks old, the female Bornean orangutan is yet to be named, but can be seen most mornings with her mom Sophia, zoo officials said.
Chicago Zoological Society
The birth is significant to the accredited North American zoo population, according to the Brookfield Zoo, but hopefully it will also help raise awareness about the threats facing orangutans in the wild.
Chicago Zoological Society
Orangutans, a critically endangered species, once lived in much of Southeast Asia, but their range and population have been dramatically reduced due to deforestation, the illegal pet trade, and poaching, according to the Brookfield Zoo.
Chicago Zoological Society
The unnamed infant can be found with her 35-year-old mother Sophia at Brookfield Zoo's "Tropic World: Asia habitat" exhibit. Guests will see the infant nursing and likely sleeping for long periods of time, zoo officials said. The baby will continuously cling to Sophia for the next 10 months or so.
Chicago Zoological Society
"An infant may nurse from its mother for up to five years and stays close to her up to age 8," the Brookfield Zoo said in a release. "Because of this long dependency, there is approximately a six- to eight-year interval between births. A female remains with her mother into her teens, which gives the young orangutan the opportunity to observe her mother raise an infant and gain the knowledge she will need once she is ready to reproduce. This birth will be a great opportunity and experience for Sophia’s daughter Kekasih, 8, to watch her mother care for and raise a baby."
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