Zoo Announces Birth of Critically Endangered Primate


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Cameron Park Zoo, in Waco, Texas, is proud to announce that Mei, the Zoo’s Bornean Orangutan, gave birth to a baby boy on January 12.

The Zoo’s primate staff, veterinarian, a local ob/gyn, and NICU nurses from Baylor Scott & White-Hillcrest Hospital were all present for the birth. The new baby began nursing with minutes of being born. The Zoo reports that both mom and baby are doing well.

This is the second baby for Mei, who is 18-years-old, and her partner Kerajaan (also known as KJ) who is 27-years-old.

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4_Mei and sonPhoto Credits: Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo recently held a naming contest for the little male orangutan. The primate staff presented three names for the public to choose from: Bawana which means “earth” or “world”; Jaka which means “young man”; and Razak which means “protector”.

The proceeds raised through the naming contest are going directly to caring for his wild baby cousins in Kalimantan.

In late 2015, fires raged across Kalimantan causing widespread forest loss and devastating impacts to wildlife populations. Tragically, many baby orangutans were left orphaned after losing their mothers and forest homes to the fires. Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) teams rescued 44 baby orangutans and the Baby House facilities at both Nyaru Menteng and Samboja Lestari rescue centers filled quickly, above and beyond capacity. Urgent plans were made to build bigger Baby Houses that could shelter the orphaned infants being cared for at these centers.

Late last year BOS began construction of new Baby Houses at both Samboja Lestari and Nyaru Menteng centers and construction of both projects is expected to be finished in April 2017.

The winning name was announced late January, and the new male is now known as Razak!

The baby and Mei will remain in the Zoo’s night house to give mother and baby time to bond. Beginning Sunday, January 22 the nursery window at the orangutan night house will be left open to give Zoo visitors a chance to see the new family.

The Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) is a species of orangutan native to the island of Borneo. The species is classified as “Critically Endangered” by the IUCN, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.

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