Dana, a 25-year-old Sumatran ape, whose home is in Jersey, was made pregnant due to a pioneering fertility treatment, as she was believed to be infertile, which saw her receive an obstetrician, a procedure that is usually reserved for human patients.
In 2009, Dana, had suffered a stillbirth, which in the process blocked her fallopian tubes, however Neil MacLachlan, the head obstetrician at Jersey General Hospital, was persistant in his attempts to help Dana get pregnant.
MacLachlan stated, “The reproductive organs of an orang-utan and a human are virtually identical. You’d be hard pushed to tell the difference at all. An organ-utan’s fallopian tubes are slightly shorter. It was fantastic we were able to help Dana get pregnant.”
He then added, “We were worried throughout her pregnancy because of her stillbirth and regularly monitored her using ultrasound, but luckily it all went extremely well.”
A spokesman for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust stated, “The baby is big and strong and healthy – very awake and alert. Dana is a great mother. We see it as a miracle.”
MacLachlan had previously carried out a caesarean section on an orangutan ten years ago, and he helped Dana over the next few years, performing operations to help clear the blockages. Her baby, whose name is currently M3236, was born on June 9, and was captured by the BBC documentary, Refugees Of The Lost Rain Forest, which used a hidden camera to capture it.
The labour lasted for one hour and 45 minutes, with Dana delivering the baby, and then clearing away her baby’s airwaves withe her mouth, before checking her daughter’s body.
The orangutan’s temporary name is Harta, which means gift, whilst her permanent name will be determined via a public competition.