Orangutan and Her Baby Make a Cuddly Debut at the Audubon Zoo: 'The Day Has Finally Arrived!'
This newborn Sumatran orangutan is ready for their closeup!
On Wednesday, The Audubon Zoo of New Orleans gave guests their first glimpse at first-time mom Reese and her 5-week-old child, who doesn't have a name just yet.
"The day has finally arrived! Guests can now see Reese and her infant exploring outdoors with Jambi, Feliz, Bulan, and Menari," the zoo wrote on Instagram alongside a sweet shot of mother and child.
"Please be aware that Reese is still getting used to her routine with the infant and will have inside/outside access throughout the day, so they may not be visible at all times," the zoo cautioned.
Until now, the mother and child have been being kept behind the scenes at the zoo to give them time to bond.
"When animals are born, we do not have any handling of the animals unless it's an emergency," Liz Wilson, the Audubon Zoo's curator of primates, told NOLA.com. "This allows the mother and child to bond without any human intervention."
And the family is getting along swimmingly! "She just had a natural flair to caring for her child," Wilson said of 12-year-old Reese.
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So far thousands of guests have flocked to the zoo to see the new mom and child in action.
"Already, we have had over 4,000 people come to see our baby orangutan," Wilson told the outlet. "Whenever we have a newborn, our community tends to come together and witness our newest members."
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Reese gave birth to her first child early in the morning on Feb. 28, which took the Lousiana zoo's staff by surprise.
Although the Audobon Zoo knew the first-time mom was pregnant, due to "early signs and physical changes," they placed the primate's birth window between April and May, according to a release from the zoo.
"We received the best kind of surprise this morning," Wilson said in a statement at the time. "It just goes to show that, despite all of the uncertainty in the world currently, life is carrying on as normal for our orangutans. It's really uplifting to see."
The arrival of this new orangutan will help keep the world's captive Sumatran orangutan population genetically diverse, which is vital for the critically endangered species. According to the zoo, "there are fewer than 14,000 living in the wild, and their numbers are declining, mainly due to human-wildlife contact due to the spread of palm oil plantations into their forest habitat."