Auckland Zoo is delighted to announce the safe and speedy arrival of a healthy baby Bornean orangutan, born on Sunday 20 March to second-time parents Melur and Charlie!

Melur (33) had a quick and straightforward labour without any complications, supported by Charlie and the Zoo’s primate team, and her baby (whose sex is yet to be confirmed) was born at 11.30am.

So far, Melur is proving to be an exceptionally attentive mum, and her baby has a strong suckling reflex and a healthy grip – both signs he/she is thriving. She’s particularly enjoying making huge nests and cuddling up to her baby in the orangutans inside area – ensuring she holds the baby in the correct position for nursing and is being very gentle and nurturing.


Melur and Charlie welcome baby orangutan into the world!

Primate keepers film the first glimpses of the Bornean orangutan baby (sex to be determined)

Today (Tuesday) the family will have the opportunity to go outside into their high canopy habitat for the first time with baby. But it’ll be up to Melur if she feels comfortable doing so and also weather dependent – so this may mean visitors won’t see Melur and her baby immediately. However, as she settles into motherhood again, she will regain her strength and willingness to explore her habitat.

Our Primate team say the birth was incredible to witness, “Melur knew exactly what to do and immediately cleaned the baby and positioned it for nursing. This birth has been hugely anticipated by Zoo whanau, particularly with the loss of elderly orangutan Wanita recently,” says the Zoo’s deputy curator of mammals, Amy Robbins.

“It’s been 16 years since the birth of Melur and Charlie’s first offspring, male Madju (now a father himself!), so it’s incredibly special to welcome their second. In the coming years, like us, visitors will once again have the rare privilege of experiencing the extraordinary bond between an orangutan mother and her baby and see how Melur nurtures and teaches this young one to ensure he/she thrives as happens in the wild,” says Amy.

Orangutans are a Critically Endangered species that Auckland Zoo, thanks to you our visitors, has been supporting the conservation of in the wild for more than 20 years. It’s through this help and support to our partners - the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and more recently, the Sumatran Ranger Project, that some great and positive outcomes for this critical rainforest species are being achieved.

We hope you’ll continue to join us in supporting orangutans in wild and look forward to keeping you updated with baby’s progress. And once the sex of this baby is confirmed, we’ll let you all know!