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Baby Orangutan Introduced at Berlin Zoo

  • VOA News

Officials at Germany's Berlin Zoo have introduced their newest orangutan to the media, a less than-a-month-old baby female being raised by zoo keepers after its mother rejected her.

The baby Bornean orangutan, named Rieke, was born at the Berlin Zoological Garden on January 12 to an 11-year-old female name Djasinga, a first-time mother.

Zoo officials say the mother and baby failed to bond, as sometimes happens, and zookeepers quickly stepped in to help.

The officials said Rieke is growing rapidly and will be moved into their monkey house as soon as possible. They said she already has a playmate waiting, five-month-old Bulu Mata, a Sumatran orangugtan whose mother died shortly after his birth.

The birth of Rieke is a hopeful sign for orangutans in general. Wildlife officials say the animal's populations have plummeted more than 50 percent during the past 60 years, mostly due to habitat loss and forest fires.

Current estimates put the number of Bornean orangutans at around 40,000.