Endangered baby orangutan born at Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo announced the birth of an endangered orangutan baby. (HOUSTON ZOO)

April 5, 2011 10:11:12 AM PDT
A female Bornean orangutan baby was welcomed into the world at the Houston Zoo.

The as-yet-unnamed infant, the third orangutan born at the zoo in the past 14 years, was born Wednesday, March 2 at the Houston Zoo's Wortham World of Primates. A team of trained and experienced care givers is hand rearing the baby.

"We were disappointed that the baby's mother, Kelly did not raise her baby as we had hoped," said Houston Zoo Curator of Primates and Carnivores Hollie Colahan. "However, we are very happy that Kelly and the baby are healthy. And we're also very fortunate that we have a staff that is very experienced and accomplished in hand rearing newborns and reintroducing them to their mothers or to surrogate mothers."

Concerned for the welfare of the infant, the primate staff says it made the decision to hand rear the baby with the goal of reintroducing her to another orangutan as quickly as possible.

Since baby orangutans spend their first year of life clinging to their mother, the hand rearing process taking place in the orangutan night house at Wortham World of Primates means the baby is clinging to her caregivers 24 hours a day, seven days a week until she is ready to move about on her own.

The zoo says the hand rearing process is taking place in view of the zoo's six orangutans.

Naming the baby

The Houston Zoo is inviting the public to suggest names for the baby orangutan. For more information about the naming contest, please visit www.houstonzoo.org/name-the-baby/.

Visitors to the website are invited to submit names from April 4 to April 10. Her caregivers will select the five names from the collected suggestions that will be put to an online vote April 11 to April 18. The winning name will be announced on April 19.

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