Endangered orangutan in New Orleans has 1 healthy baby

Dec 27, 2021, 12:27 PM | Updated: 12:48 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A critically endangered Sumatran orangutan in New Orleans has given birth to a healthy male baby, but his twin brother died in the womb, officials at the Audubon Zoo said Monday.

Twelve-year-old Menari gave birth to the first baby without trouble on Christmas Eve and was mothering it appropriately, but she was having problems after that, according to a news release.

A team of on-call medical professionals was brought in, including local OBGYN and neonatology specialists who usually treat humans.

Menari was anesthetized, and ultrasound showed that the second baby was dead and badly positioned. The team was able to remove it without a Cesarean section, the zoo said.

The great apes named for their long red hair are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Threats include hunting and the destruction of the forests and peat swamps where they spend nearly all their time up in trees.

Fewer than 14,000 live in the wild and their numbers are declining as palm oil plantations spread into their forest habitat, according to the Audubon Nature Institute, which runs the zoo.

When Menari’s pregnancy was announced in October, the zoo said there’s about a 1% chance of orangutan twins.

Twin births are inherently high risk.

“This is a bittersweet time for our team, but, given the very serious complications with the second infant, we are extremely happy that Menari and the surviving infant are together and doing well,” said Audubon’s senior veterinarian, Bob MacLean. “There are many risks associated with pregnancy, especially with first-time mothers, but our veterinary team and OBGYN specialists are very pleased with Menari’s recovery and her natural mothering instincts thus far.”

The baby was bottle-fed overnight, while Menari recovered, McLean said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press by zoo spokeswoman Annie Matherne.

“Menari immediately took the infant back Christmas morning, when offered to her, and she successfully began nursing,” he said.

Mother and baby are behind the scenes to give them time to bond and to let keepers and veterinarians care for them, the zoo said. It said the baby was nursing very well.

Veterinarians don’t know what caused the death of the other baby, which was also full-term, McLean said. “The medical team on-hand did indicate that the placenta appeared abnormal. We will be sending tissues for histopathology to glean more information, but those results will be many weeks to come,” he said.

Menari was hand-reared and is a first-time mother. However, she was able to observe her mother, Feliz, and foster-sister Reese giving birth and raising babies — Feliz in 2019 and Reese in February. Menari and half-sister Bulan often eat, sleep or forage together, the zoo said.

“This recent experience with infants has helped to prepare Menari for motherhood,” the news release said.

The infant is the third for father Jambi, who also sired the babies born in 2019 and this year. He came to New Orleans in 2018 from Hannover Zoo in Germany.

It may be six years or more before his next babies.

Sumatran orangutans aren’t weaned until they’re about 7 years old, and females have the longest period between births of any mammals — 8.2 to 9.3 years, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A plane drops retardant on a wildfire near homes Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Laguna Beach, C...
Associated Press

US testing new fire retardant, critics push other methods

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials are testing a new wildfire retardant after two decades of buying millions of gallons annually from one supplier, but watchdogs say the expensive strategy is overly fixated on aerial attacks at the expense of hiring more fire-line digging ground crews. The Forest Service used more than 50 million gallons […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Flamethrower used to torch Pan-African flag flying on pole

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A person using a flamethrower set fire Saturday to a Pan-African flag flying on a pole outside the headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, a Black international socialist group based in Florida. Security video released by the group shows the driver of a white Honda sedan pulling up outside the group’s […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

First Black woman named as Connecticut’s top public defender

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The first Black woman has been appointed as Connecticut’s chief public defender. TaShun Bowden-Lewis, who officially began her job on Friday overseeing the Division of Public Defender Services, said she hopes to provide minority clients with a greater sense of trust in the state’s criminal justice system. “I do want our […]
15 hours ago
A customer leaves after he bought Superstar Ravi sneakers at the Adidas showroom in Dubai, United A...
Associated Press

Popular Pakistani restaurant stands test of time in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In a city boasting champagne brunches with views of the sea, Michelin star restaurants, and endless high-end Asian food options, a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant with plastic chairs and metal tables is one of Dubai’s go-to spots. Ravi restaurant, a small, family-owned Pakistani place, is rooted in the community of […]
15 hours ago
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 18, 2019 file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the...
Associated Press

Google to erase more location info as abortion bans expand

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google will automatically purge information about users who visit abortion clinics or other places that could trigger legal problems now that the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the door for states to ban the termination of pregnancies. The company behind the internet’s dominant internet search engine and the Android software […]
15 hours ago
Clouds pass behind the guitar sculpture at the entrance to the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City, N...
Associated Press

Hard Rock deal ends casino strike threat in Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The Hard Rock casino reached agreement with Atlantic City’s main casino workers union on Saturday, removing the last threat of a strike during the busy holiday weekend and clearing the way for the gambling halls and their workers to concentrate on bouncing back from financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic. […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Christina O’Haver

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Endangered orangutan in New Orleans has 1 healthy baby