Aug
12

Today in Smithsonian History: August 12, 1980

The National Zoological Park's new female baby orangutan, born August 12, 1980. (Photo by Jessie Cohen, as featured in the Torch, September 1980)

The baby orangutan born August 12, 1980 at the National Zoo. (Photo by Jessie Cohen, as featured in the Torch, September 1980)

August 12, 1980 A female orangutan is born to parents Pensi and Atjeh (also know as Junior) at the National Zoological Park. The fragile infant weighs only 2 pounds, 5 ounces and is moved to an incubator immediately.

Today, the Great Ape House and the Think Tank buildings at the National Zoo are home to six orangutans. The Zoo’s unique Orangutan Transport System (the O Line) allows the orangutans to choose whether they want to cross overhead on the cables and which of the two buildings they want to spend time in.

The orangutans, solitary in the wild, live in small groups or pairs at the Zoo. The two males, Kiko and Kyle, are not housed together, but the females have the flexibility to choose which group to join. Providing orangutans lots of choice and flexibility in their daily lives keeps them mentally stimulated and enriched. Orangutans are managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, which seeks to maintain a genetically diverse, and healthy populations of both Bornean and Sumatran species of orangutans.

For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo celebrated the birth of a Bornean orangutan. The male infant, later named Redd, was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12. to parents Batang and Kyle. Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Zoo provides updates on Redd through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #OrangutanStory.

Female orangutan

Female orangutan Batang in March 2016. (Photo by Ann Batdorf)

female orangutan satnding upright

Female orangutan Batang in March 2016. (Photo by Ann Batdorf)

 

Mother and infant orangutans

Mother Batang cradles infant Redd, born Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo by Alex Reddy)

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 12 August 2017
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