Orangutan birth is a first for Jackson Zoo - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Orangutan birth is a first for Jackson Zoo

Posted: Updated:
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It was an exciting morning, Thursday, for keepers at the Jackson Zoo when Bornean orangutan Sabah gave birth in her off-exhibit bedroom.

The 35-year-old orangutan gave birth to her fourth infant, though her first with mate 28-year-old Pumpkin.  

Deputy Director Dave Wetzel reminds us that "the first few days of the orangutan's life are very fragile. Sabah is proving to be an excellent mother, so for now the best plan of action is to allow her to care for and bond with her new infant."

Sabah and baby are currently in their off exhibit area.

Over the next several weeks the pair will be introduced to the male and then she will be given the opportunity to go out.

Until that time, Pumpkin will be on exhibit for zoo visitors.  

"Sabah is an experienced mother and right now she's holding the baby close and nursing, so we haven't gotten a good look to see if it's a boy or girl just yet. Right now, we're just happy to have a healthy infant," adds Willie Bennett, Animal Care Supervisor and the keeper that discovered Sabah's new arrival.

Sabah arrived at the Jackson Zoo in mid-April and the introductory period took place over several months. When Sabah and Pumpkin finally came face to face in July, Deputy Director Dave Wetzel announced to staff "that if they get along like that, we'll be having an orang baby in 10 months."

The transfer of Sabah from her home at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium to the Jackson Zoo was arranged through the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan or SSP.

SSPs determine which animals are placed together. "We like to think of SSPs as ZHarmony, a matchmaking service for zoo animals," says Director Beth Poff. "In order to maintain healthy genetic zoo populations, individuals may need to move homes, much like individuals would in the wild to find mates."

Bornean orangutans are found on the island Borneo where they live in complex social networks. Approximately 60% of their diet is made up of fruits, making them a vital player in the role of seed dispersal and directly impacting the forest on which they rely. The Bornean Orangutan is classified as endangered with fewer than 50,000 individuals remaining in the wild. As they only give birth to one infant every six to eight years their numbers are declining fast, as a result of the extreme rate at which forest habitat in Indonesia is being destroyed. Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats due to the development of oil palm plantations used for the production of palm oil, an ingredient in many everyday products such as cosmetics, hygiene products, and processed foods.

INFORMATION Courtesy The Jackson Zoo.

copyright 2014 MSNewsNow. All Rights reserved.

 
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Hebert Family speaks out about deadly explosion at Omega Protein

    Hebert Family speaks out about deadly explosion at Omega Protein

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:55 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:55:14 GMT
    Christopher Hebert was killed in an accident at Omega Protein's Moss Point plant in 2012. Hebert's loved ones said they are heartbroken to hear of another life lost.More >>
    In 2012, Christopher Hebert was killed when he was caught in a rotating screw conveyor at Omega Protein's Moss Point plant. Hebert's loved ones said they are heartbroken to hear another family is having to deal with losing a loved one because of something that happened at the plant.
    More >>
  • Woman, 2 children killed in Leake County ATV accident

    Toddler involved in fatal Leake County ATV accident expected to recover

    Monday, July 28 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-28 23:08:07 GMT
    Two-year-old Alicia Hernandez is currently at Blair E. Batson hospital in Jackson recovering from an ATV accident that killed her mother, brother and a cousin. "My Aunt Lucy Hernandez, her second oldestMore >>
    Sarah Eichelberger, of Baton Rouge, was driving her 2009 Acura car when she collided with Lucy Hernandez's Honda ATV.
    More >>
  • Suspect's death takes a toll on authorities

    Suspect's death takes a toll on authorities

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-07-29 10:53:12 GMT
    The D'Iberville man who was pulled from the Tchoutacabouffa River this weekend drowned, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. Monday, an autopsy was completed on James King. Authorities sayMore >>
    The D'Iberville man who was pulled from the Tchoutacabouffa River this weekend drowned, according to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. Monday, an autopsy was completed on James King. Authorities say the 21-year-old jumped into the river Saturday while running away from police. It's the kind of tragedy first responders admit always takes a toll on them.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.