'Orange' you happy? Como Zoo's baby orangutan is making her public debut


The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory's newest orangutan will make her public debut Thursday.

The nearly 1-month-old Sumatran orangutan who hasn't been named (find out how to vote for her name here) will be introduced to zoogoers for the first time at 10 a.m.

Her mother, 28-year-old Markisa, gave birth via cesarean section on Jan. 7.

It's very rare for orangutans to need C-sections, and this was Markisa's second one, the Como Zoo says. There are only about a dozen of these procedures recorded in the International Orangutan Studbook, which has tracked more than 1,200 births in captivity, the zoo notes.

The zoo is also inviting the public to attend a baby shower for all of its new animals, including the baby zebras Melee and Ruckus, and the baby giraffe, Skye.

The event will be over President's Day weekend, Feb. 14-16 – at 2 p.m. Monday, the baby orangutan's name will be announced, the zoo says.

Did you know?

Here are some facts about orangutans, according to the Como Zoo and the World Wildlife Federation:

  • Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species who live on the southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
  • Orangutan is derived from the Malay words for "person of the forest," and the name is very fitting – they spend most of their time in trees; females virtually never travel on the ground, while males rarely do.
  • Even though they live in the trees, they're a lot like humans – they are 97 percent of the same genetic makeup.
  • Orangutans live to be about 35 years old in the wild, and over 50 years old in captivity. Young orangutans may stay with their mothers for 11 or 12 years.

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