All good things come in threes: Orangutans give birth to another baby

Sitti, the female orangutan, has become a mum again. On 22 April, she gave birth to a healthy baby. This brings the number of orangutan infants currently at Hellabrunn Zoo to three.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Daniela Hierl

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michael Thomas

While Quentin and Quinn, the two orangutan baby boys born in autumn 2016, are becoming more and more active as they develop, often venturing off on their own, visitors will have to observe Sitti very closely to catch a glimpse of her recently-born baby. Although Sitti, who is known for making contact with visitors, still continues to sit close to the glass wall of the enclosure, she is also aware enough to protect her little baby from the curious eyes of onlookers by hiding her under her thick furry coat. Only a little over two weeks ago, she became the third female orangutan to give birth to a healthy baby at Hellabrunn Zoo. Matra, the eldest female of the group, is not only raising her own son Quentin, but is also taking care of Jahe's son Quinn. Since the birth in late April, new mum Sitti has been lovingly nurturing her baby, which is presumably a girl. Her eight-year-old daughter Isalie can often be seen at her side.

Like Matra's daughter Jolie, who always keenly observes how her mum handles the two boys, Isalie, too, is very interested in her little new sibling. At seven and eight years old, respectively, the two orangutan girls are still at a juvenile age. They can nonetheless  learn a lot about parenting from Matra and Sitti.

"It's nice to see how loving the two mums are with their offspring, as well as observe how attentive the other female oranguans are as they watch the little ones being nutured. In a few months, when they are a bit bigger, there will be plenty of activity in the orangutan enclosure," says zoo director Rasem Baban, delighted with the birth of the third orangutan baby at the zoo.

The first weeks of an orangutan's life are quite critical due to the potential risk of infection. "We are, however, confident that the youngest member of Hellabrunn's orangutan family will develop well," says curator Beatrix Köhler.

The dad of the baby girl is Bruno. His daughter has not yet been named. Under the zoo's Adopt a Baby Animal programme,  the sponsor will have the privilege of choosing a name for the little orangutan. Sponsoring an animal at Hellabrunn Zoo not only supports the care and feeding of the animal adopted at the zoo, but also the sustainable conservation of its fellow species in their natural habitat.

Orangutans are listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There are only about 14,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Sumatran orangutans are only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, where the population has suffered a dramatic decline due to continual habitat loss. In Indonesia, large swathes of forest are cleared to produce wood for paper production as well as for palm tree plantations for the production of palm oil.

For many years, Hellabrunn Zoo has supported a project by the Frankfurt Zoological Society (ZGF), which operates a reintroduction station on Sumatra in the Bukit Tigapuluh National Park. The aim of the project is the release of Sumatran orangutans into their natural habitat. The ZGF also seeks to promote an eco-friendly economically viable agriculture through various initiatives that allow the communities living around the national park to achieve commercial progress in harmony with nature.

The members of the orangutan group at Hellabrunn Zoo are:

Bruno, the proud

Born 18.02.1969 at Hellabrunn Zoo
The father of Jolie and Isalie is the undisputed head of the Hellabrunn orangutan group and very self-assured.


Matra, the good-natured
Born 19.11.1975 at Nuremberg Zoo
At Hellabrunn since: 1993
Matra is an affectionate mother who cares for her offspring with love and patience.


Sitti, the friendly
Born 20.11.1989 at Frankfurt Zoo
At Hellabrunn since: 2007
Sitti, the mother of Isalie and half-sister of Jahe, likes to communicate with visitors through the glass

Jahe, the elegant
Born 21.04.2003 at Frankfurt Zoo
At Hellabrunn since: 2012
The slender and graceful Jahe is the fine lady among the orangutans at Hellabrunn.

Isalie, the inventor
Born 14.07.2008 at Hellabrunn Zoo
Isalie, the daughter of Bruno and Sitti, always thinks up new games in order to have fun with her best friend Jolie. 

Jolie, the princess
Born 15.07.2009 at Hellabrunn Zoo
The daughter of Bruno and Matra is particularly pretty, but also a reserved orangutan girl. 

Quentin, the connoisseur
Born 03.10.2016 at Hellabrunn
Quentin, Matra's youngest son, is being raised as a "twin" alongside his half-brother Quinn by mum Matra. He likes to try out new fruits and vegetables.

Quinn, the adventurous
Born 23.10.2016 at Hellabrunn
Quinn has been adopted by Matra, because his mum Jahe is still quite young and inexperienced as a mother. With Matra he receives lovingly care. The little orangutan boy often ventures off on excursions with Isalie and Jolie.

R ..., the youngest
Born 22.04.2017 at Hellabrunn
The youngest member of the family has not yet been named. However, as she was born in 2017, it is certain that the name she will be given will begin with the letter R.