SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Zoo is celebrating the birth of its first critically endangered Sumatran orangutan in more than seven years.
A 35-year-old orangutan, Indah, gave birth to her third infant on Jan. 4, the zoo said in a news release. An orangutan has not been born at the zoo since 2014, when Indah had her daughter Aisha.
The zoo named the healthy two-week-old male Kaja after an island in Kalimantan that houses rehabilitated orangutans before they are released in the wild, the release said.
Indah is recovering after having some complications after the birth, the zoo said. She will be on habitat intermittently as wildlife health and care specialists closely monitor her and her son.
“To witness the birth of such a majestic critically endangered animal is a remarkable experience and brings us hope for the future,” said Erika Kohler, interim executive director of the San Diego Zoo. “His birth increases the population by one and that is a necessary step in our ongoing efforts to gain a deeper understanding of orangutans so we can conserve the species where they live.”
Sumatran and Bornean orangutans are critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. Illegal wildlife trafficking and habitat loss from deforestation have contributed to their population decline.
“It was extremely rewarding to see the understanding and collaboration put forth by our talented team and community consultants to provide the necessary care for Indah and her infant,” said Meg Sutherland-Smith, director of veterinary services at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. “We will continue to stay vigilant; and at the same time, remain hopeful.”