Bornean orangutan "Hadiah" turned 11 years old recently and we wanted to take some time to reflect on what she means to her Orangutan family, her keepers, Zoo guests and to the Bornean orangutan population in the wild.
Earlier this year, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declared Bornean orangutans to be Critically Endangered, the last stage before they become extinct in the wild. Orangutans’ primary threat to survival is loss of habitat from palm oil production, logging and human development. Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is working to increase awareness about their plight and increase our conservation efforts to save orangutans in Borneo as well as at the Zoo.
We were thrilled that "Hadiah" gave birth to her first baby earlier this year, a daughter named "Topi." "Hadiah" has been an excellent caregiver to baby "Topi," cleaning, nursing and handling her very carefully. As a sign of carefulness, "Hadiah" would always carry "Topi" with a protective arm even if she had a grip on mom. As the baby has grown in strength, "Hadiah" is much more at ease and allows the baby to cling to her without aid.
Like all mothers, "Hadiah" needs some alone time and will often leave "Topi" with her own mother, “Josie,” for babysitting. Sometimes "Josie" will even initiate babysitting by taking "Topi" from "Hadiah" for short periods of time! Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is committed to learning all we can about orangutan needs in the hopes that our knowledge and skills can slow the population decline in the wild and potentially save this species from extinction.
As we take time today to celebrate "Hadiah", here are some ways you can make a difference:
- Be an informed shopper – Palm oil production is one of the most significant threats to wild orangutan habitat. Palm oil is used in hundreds of products we purchase every day from crackers to toothpaste to lotion. However, many companies have pledged to use on sustainable palm oil which means no further deforestation. You can download the Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping Guide available for free on Google Play in the iTunes app store to learn which products and brands have pledged to protect orangutans!
- Visit "Hadiah"– Swing by the Zoo this week to see "Hadiah" and the whole Orangutan family. Purchasing a ticket to the Zoo directly supports our Bornean orangutan conservation efforts. Plus, our staff can tell you additional ways you can get involved in protecting this species!
We hope to see you soon!