NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan in New Orleans has given birth to a healthy male baby, but his double brother died in the womb, officials at Audubon Zoo said on Monday.
Twelve-year-old Menari gave birth to the first baby without problems on Christmas Eve and was properly mothering him, but she had problems afterwards, according to a press release.
A team of on-call healthcare professionals has been recruited, including local specialists in OBGYN and neonatology who typically treat humans.
Menari was anesthetized and the ultrasound showed the second baby to be dead and poorly positioned. The team was able to remove it without a cesarean, the zoo said.
Great apes named for their long red hair are seen Critical danger by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Threats include hunting and the destruction of forests and peatlands where they spend most of their time in trees.
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Fewer than 14,000 people live in the wild and their numbers are dwindling as oil palm plantations spread through their forest habitat, according to the Audubon Nature Institute, which operates the zoo.
When Menari’s pregnancy was announced in October, the zoo said there was about a 1% chance of having twin orangutans.
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 are doing well,” said the senior veterinarian of ‘Audubon, Bob MacLean. âThere are many risks associated with pregnancy, especially for first-time mothers, but our veterinary team and obstetrics specialists are very pleased with Menari’s recovery and her natural maternal instincts so far. “
The baby was bottle-fed overnight, while Menari recovered, McLean said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press by zoo spokeswoman Annie Matherne.
âMenari immediately brought the baby back on Christmas morning when it was offered to her, and she began to suck successfully,â he said.
Mother and baby are behind the scenes to give them time to bond and let caretakers and vets take care of them, the zoo said. He said the baby was breastfeeding very well.
Vets don’t know what caused the death of the other baby, who was also born at term, McLean said. âThe medical team on site said the placenta appeared abnormal. We will send tissue for histopathology to glean more information, but those results will be in several weeks, âhe said.
Menari was hand raised and is a first time mother. However, she was able to observe her mother, Feliz, and her adopted sister Reese giving birth and raising babies â- Feliz in 2019 and Reese in February. Menari and her stepsister Bulan often eat, sleep or eat together, the zoo said.
âThis recent experience with infants has helped prepare Menari for motherhood,â the press release said.
The child is the third for the father Jambi, who also fathered the babies born in 2019 and this year. He came to New Orleans in 2018 from the Hanover Zoo in Germany.
It may be six years or more before her next babies.
Sumatran orangutans aren’t weaned until around 7 years old, and females have the longest time between births of any mammal – 8.2 to 9.3 years, according to the International Union. for nature conservation.
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