Durrell celebrates an orangutan 'miracle birth'!
A delighted team, made up of Keepers, Vets and some of Jersey General Hospital’s Obstetric staff, are proud to announce that at 2345hrs a handful of staff witnessed the safe arrival of Sumatran orangutan ‘Dana’s’ first surviving infant.
The birth of 25 year-old Dana’s baby is an especially remarkable achievement, as her previous pregnancy in 2009 suffered complications that endangered Dana’s health and resulted in a stillborn infant.
“ Dana and her new baby, confirmed as a girl, are currently resting and she is keeping her infant safely in her arms ”
Following the incident, Dana was left with blocked fallopian tubes, rendering her infertile. However, expert intervention by Jersey General Hospital’s Head Obstetrician, Neil MacLachlan, allowed Dana and 28 year-old dominant male ‘Dagu’ to conceive again against the odds, in late 2012.
Mr MacLachlan visited Dana throughout her pregnancy and worked with Durrell staff who, using trained behaviour techniques, carried out ultrasound scanning of Dana’s infant in the womb. This collaborative approach allowed decisions to be made that gave Durrell the best possible chances of a healthy mother and full-term baby.
Dana and her new baby, confirmed as a girl, are currently resting and she is keeping her infant safely in her arms. At present the orangutan building remains open to the public and visitors may be treated to an exciting view of the new infant, if Dana allows it!
After being personally present when Dana lost her first baby, and nearly losing Dana herself due to the complications, I am literally overjoyed to see her healthy - if tired - with an equally healthy baby. To be present when the baby was born was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, made all the more moving given Dana’s history. We are all so happy for her, and will continue to monitor at a respectful distance to make sure she and her little one have every chance to thrive! ”
Gordon Hunt, Durrell’s Deputy Head of Mammals
The new baby is the second Sumatran orangutan born at Durrell Wildlife Park in 2013; the first being 30 year-old female ‘Anette’s’ son ‘Jantho’ born on April 1st. Jantho is named after the release site for rehabilitated orangutans near Banda Aceh, Sumatra, where individuals rescued from deforested areas or from the pet trade are reintroduced to relative safety.
The Sumatran orangutan population, classified as Critically Endangered (IUCN Red list of threatened species), is thought to number a mere 6,600 individuals, and reportedly loses 10 to 15% of forest habitat to logging and palm oil plantations every year. Durrell maintain close ties, and share funds collected at the orangutan exhibit with the highly active Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Project (SOCP) which is headed by former Durrell keeper Dr. Ian Singleton.
How can you help?
The orangutan population in Sumatra is spiraling towards the unthinkable - the loss of this species forever.
With your kind help, Durrell and SOCP can make sure that Dana’s baby and her cousins in the wild have a future... please consider donating any amount you can spare, and in turn we will spare no effort in keeping our friends from the forest from disappearing forever.
Posted 10 June 2013