Written by Lee Ann Rottman, Vice President of Conservation
We are so excited to welcome a new Bornean orangutan baby to our Zoo family! On the morning of Saturday, January 6th, Bornean orangutan, DeeDee, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl weighing about three pounds. Dee Dee is quite the experienced mother, already successfully giving birth five times. She is very attentive and even gently pats her baby’s back when she gets fussy.
The bond between Dee Dee and her baby is so special, it resembles the unbreakable bond between a human mother and a baby. The connection between humans and apes is astounding! Like humans, baby apes are born completely dependent on their mothers and this maternal care continues for many years. For example, Dee Dee’s, nine-year-old daughter Randee, still slept with Dee Dee in her nest at night. With the new baby, Randee has taken a big step to growing up and is now making her own nest. Randee is also closely watching DeeDee and the new baby, this is an important step for her to learn how to be a mother. Orangutan mothers prefer to raise their baby on their own with no help, meaning the care and survival of a baby is solely dependent on them. These moms are the epitome of strength and devotion.
While we celebrate the arrival of our newest baby, it’s important to reflect on the perils orangutans face in the wild. Orangutans are losing their homes due to clearcutting for plant palm oil plantations leaving many orangutan babies to lose their mothers which is detrimental as babies cannot survive on their own in the wild. Palm oil is an edible oil that is found in everyday items like food, candy, soaps, etc. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has made a great app that helps consumers make smart choices at the grocery store. By downloading the Sustainable Palm Oil App, you can help save orangutans.
North America is home to only 90 animals in the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan. Each birth is very significant and crucial to the longevity of this precious species. Since DeeDee is such a devoted mother, her contribution to her species goes beyond the five babies she has raised herself, it extends to the five grandbabies she has in the SSP population. DeeDee is truly an amazing ambassador for her species and her new daughter is too cute for words!
We hope that when you see the connection between mother and baby, you will be motivated to become advocates for this incredible species. Every dollar, every visit, every membership truly makes a difference.