Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomes Sumatran orangutan baby

Posted at 11:09 AM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 13:09:14-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The baby boom continues for the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Just a few days after the birth of the zoo’s 200th giraffe calf, it welcomed a baby orangutan into the world.

Sumagu, a Sumatran orangutan, gave birth at 9:28 p.m Wednesday. The baby is the third offspring for the 30-year-old mother and 27-year-old father, Baka. The mother and baby are in their regular exhibit in Primate World, which is open to guests. While Baka revealed great fatherly instincts with his two previous offspring, zoo staff said they are keeping him separated from the mother and baby for a short time.

Both Sumagu and her newborn appear healthy and seem to be bonding well, zoo staff said. Zookeepers have not intervened to determine the baby’s gender or other details.

Minutes after the birth, the baby was clinging to its mother, who shortly afterward, came over to animal and veterinary staff to take some fruit. Staff said they could see she had cleaned up the baby well and had spotted the baby successfully nursing.

Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild. Non-sustainable palm oil production is fueling the destruction of rainforest habitat for both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans. This type of oil is found in cookies, crackers, frozen dinners, shampoo, lotions, cosmetics, pet food and other products. To learn more about the palm oil crisis, click here.

The zoo’s last orangutan birth was a Bornean orangutan named Ember, who is now 3-and-a-half years old. Sumagu’s two previous babies were both males: Makan was born in January 2003 and Godek was born in February 2009. Both are now at other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos.