O is for an Orangutan Baby!!
There is a baby for the critically endangered Sumatran orangutans at Hellabrunn. A seventh member was born to Hellabrunn’s orangutan group at the end of January - healthy, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Secretively the three female members of Hellabrunn's orangutan troop cluster together: Mum Matra, her four-year-old daughter, Jolie, and her half-sister and best friend Isalie (5 years old). Wait, there's something else there! A small bundle of red-blonde fluff weighing about 2 kilos clutching mum, Matra's tummy. A baby orangutan has been born at Munich's Hellabrunn Zoo!
The baby ape was born in the night of 30 - 31 January and discovered by a zookeeper at Hellabrunn's Orangutan Paradise in the morning. Curator Beatrix Köhler explained, "We'd already noticed Matra's fat tummy. Had she not had a baby it was definitely time to go on a diet. We are obviously thrilled that the little one is healthy and lively and that the whole troop knows what has happened."
Dr. Andreas Knieriem is also happy, "Matra is an experienced mother who is caring lovingly for her fifth baby. During the first few weeks after birth there is a high risk of infection, but we are optimistic that everything will go well." Orangutans only get pregnant every four to eight years; this is the longest gap between offspring of any of the great apes.
Since she gave birth Matra (38 years old) has carried her little one around close to her tummy, so it hasn't been possible to determine its sex yet. Jolie and Isalie, the curious girls in Hellabrunn's orangutan troop, are never far from her side. In opportune moments they sneak a little gulp of the breast milk that is being produced for the baby but is also a delicacy for the older ape girls. Bruno, who will be 45 years old on 18 February, is the one-week-old baby's father and leader of Hellabrunn's orangutan group.
In the wild Sumatran orangutans only live on the island of Sumatra and are on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's red list of critically endangered species. They are masterful climbers and spend the night high up in the tree tops where they build their nests. They move through the trees with confidence using their very long arms which can span up to 2.2 metres.