WASHINGTON D.C. - For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian's National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. on Monday night.
The baby was born to mom Batang and father Kyle, who are both 19-years-old.
The Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan recommended the pair breed back in January.
"Each and every birth of a critically endangered species is significant, but it is all the more exciting and this is a historic moment for our Smithsonian's National Zoo," said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates and member of the Orangutan SSP Steering Committee.
"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."
Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive.
The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide a quiet place for mom and baby to bond.