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28th Dec 2021

Endangered orangutan gives birth to healthy baby monkey


An endangered Sumatran orangutan in New Orleans has given birth to a healthy baby monkey at Audubon Zoo.

The baby male monkey had a twin brother who unfortunately died in the womb, officials at the zoo said.

Twelve year old Menari gave birth to the baby without any trouble on Christmas Eve and was mothering it as normal, but later began having problems. This was the orangutan’s first baby.

A team of on-call medical professionals were brought in to treat the monkey, including neonatology specialists who usually treat humans.

Menari went under anaesthesia and an ultrasound showed that the second baby she was pregnant with had died and was badly positioned, with the team then removing it without a caesarean section.

The breed of apes are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with threats of hunting and the destruction of the forests and peat swamps affecting their natural habitat.

There are now less than 14,000 Sumatran orangutans in the wild, with the amount declining as palm oil plantations spread into their forest habitat, according to the Audubon Nature Institute, which runs the zoo.

The zoo announced that Menari was pregnant back in October, saying that there was about a 1% chance of orangutan twins as twin births are inherently high risk.

“This is a bittersweet time for our team, but, given the very serious complications with the second infant, we are extremely happy that Menari and the surviving infant are together and doing well,” said Audubon’s senior vet, Bob MacLean.

He added that the veterinary team and specialists were pleased with her recovery and her maternal instincts so far, with the baby being bottle fed overnight.