10-year-old Bornean orangutan named “Hadiah” gave birth to her first offspring less than two months after her own mother, a 30-year-old Bornean orangutan named “Josie,” gave birth to her fourth offspring.
Zoo's Orangutan Group Now Three Generations
TAMPA, Fla. (February 23, 2016) -- On February 17, a 10-year-old Bornean orangutan named “Hadiah” gave birth to her first offspring less than two months after her own mother, a 30-year-old Bornean orangutan named “Josie,” gave birth to her fourth offspring (on December 20, 2015). The newest baby, a female, creates a third generation of the orangutan family living at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.
“We are very fortunate that Hadiah was able to observer her mother’s labor and delivery just two months before her own experience,” said Angela Belcher, animal care manager for primates. “As a first time mother, it took her some time to learn how to properly handle the infant, but much progress has been made in the last few days and she has the benefit of a great role model.”
With the second newborn, the Zoo is currently home to a group of seven endangered orangutans: Hadiah and female infant “Topi” (a Malay word and type of hat or cap worn in Southeast Asia), adult male “Goyang” who sired the infant, Josie and male baby “GoJo,” adult female “Dee Dee,” and her juvenile daughter “RanDee.”
Born with a thin layer of red hair and cream-colored skin around her face and abdominal region, the tiny infant (estimated at 2-3 pounds) spends her days resting, nursing and snuggling with mom. New babies will ride on their mother’s chest and back for the first few years and will nurse for three to five years, on average. Orangutan offspring are dependent on their mothers for about seven years. As one of the world's largest primates, the orangutan is second only to the gorilla in size.
Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. The female baby is ninth Bornean orangutan born at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. There are fewer than 100 Bornean orangutans in 24 AZA-accredited institutions in North America.
Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the longhaired red great apes can be found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. The species is considered endangered in the wild due to critical habitat loss in Southeast Asia, with an estimated population decline of more than 50 percent during the last 60 years. Conversion of orangutan habitat to palm oil plantations is the greatest threat to the survival of the species. In 2015, raging fires intentionally set to burn the land before plantation development has had devastating effects on the forests – more than 2 million hectares (nearly 5 million acres) were burned. In addition, poaching and the pet-trade remain major threats to orangutans across most of Borneo.