Endangered orangutan born at Richmond Metro Zoo

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Metro Zoo has announced the birth of an orangutan in honor of International Orangutan Day.

Baby Taavi was born on March 2, 2021. He is being hand-raised by animal care specialists at the zoo. The baby’s parents are Farley and Zoe.

The orangutan is an endangered species native to Borneo and Sumatra.

“These beautiful creatures are among some of the most intelligent animals in the
animal kingdom. Unfortunately, they have been victim to poaching and deforestation, resulting in
an endangered status,” the zoo said in a release.

According to the zoo, Taavi’s mom, Zoe, “failed to show maternal instincts and would not nurse her baby.”

“She held Taavi in her palm far away from herself instead of holding him close to her body to develop a bond,” the zoo said in a release. Zoo staff has to intervene to get Taavi the nutrition he needed.

Richmond Metro zoo
Baby Taavi’s mom, Zoe, failed to show maternal instincts, the zoo said. (photo provided by Richmond Metro Zoo)

The baby orangutan is now receiving round-the-clock care from zoo staff. Taavi is now 5 months old and weighs 10 pounds.

Taavi’s caretakers are working on increasing his strength. The zoo said that they place him on a lifesize orangutan stuffed animal so he can practice holding on and moving around like he would with his mother.

baby Taavi
The Metro Richmond Zoo announced the birth of Taavi in honor of International Orangutan Day.

The zoo’s goal is to introduce Taavi to another orangutan to be his surrogate mother.

Taavi receives care behind the scenes at the zoo and is not on exhibit.

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