An unnamed baby orangutan, born two weeks ago at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, has just made her first public debut. The 2-week-old clung to her mother for the event and will continue to spend most mornings bonding with her mother until her teenage years.
The cute infant can be seen hanging onto her Bornean orangutan mother, Sophia, 35, who swings on vines and eats lettuce while clutching her sleeping baby.
This is Sophia’s sixth offspring and the fourth of Ben, the sire.
According to the Brookfield Zoo, the birth is a significant addition to the zoo’s population.
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 International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Bornean orangutan population has declined by more than 60 percent between 1950 and 2010, and a further 22 percent decrease is projected through 2025.
The Chicago Zoological Society is a participant in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative population management and conservation program for the species. The program manages the breeding of orangutans in zoos to maintain a healthy, self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. The pairing of Sophia and Ben was based on a recommendation by the Orangutan SSP. Currently, 94 Bornean orangutans and 87 Sumatran orangutans live in North American zoos.