A baby Bornean orangutan, rejected by his birth mother, may have finally found a loving surrogate mother to bond with. The six-month-old orangutan name Kecil, which means “little” in Indonesian, has been struggling with finding a parent to bond with. The baby orangutan’s caregivers within the zoo community have made multiple attempts to find a loving adult orangutan for him to cling to. The baby orangutan was born in Ohio’s Toledo Zoo, where his mother rejected him. She had been an experienced mother, but she was refusing to care for Kecil.
The baby orangutan was transferred to the Milwaukee County Zoo, but he was unable to adapt there as well. Finally, the orangutan baby was moved to the Brookfield Zoo where he met Maggie, a 53-year-old orangutan with surrogate mothering experience, at the end of June. Orangutans are a severely threatened species, so the successful rearing of baby orangutans like Kecil are imperative for the species’ survival. Jay Petersen, the curator of primates and carnivores at the Chicago Zoological Society, explained, “It takes this whole zoo community and all their combined experience to make this type of situation work.” Petersen praised the efforts of all three zoos for being able to work together to find a loving surrogate in the best interest of the baby orangutan.
Maggie and Kecil are bonding appropriately, according to the Chicago Zoological Society. The surrogate mother and her new baby orangutan will need many months of privacy before the public will be allowed to witness their heartwarming relationship in person.
[Photo via the Chicago Zoological Society]