New born Bornean orangutan at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington

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Staffers have been preparing Batang for motherhood over the last three years. Two other females were trained to act as surrogates in case Batang couldn’t or wouldn’t care for her infant. Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered. Scientists estimate that in the past 75 years, the number of wild orangutans has decreased by 80 percent.The new born is a male. Female Batang and male Kyle bred in January following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant.

Over the past 12 weeks, the Zoo has provided weekly updates on Batang on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #OrangutanStory/ “I am very proud of Batang and my team. Ever since we received the breeding recommendation, they have dedicated themselves to preparing Batang for motherhood. I look forward to watching the infant experience everything for the first time, especially meeting the other orangutans and going outside for the first time with Batang,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates.

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