Auckland Zoo is accredited by both Australasian and European zoo associations and is one of only two zoos in Australasia with Bornean orangutans. Charlie’s genes are not yet well represented in the zoo population so are recognised as among the most valuable to the international programme.
Melur (33) and Charlie (40) became first-time parents in 2005 when male Madju was born. Now 16, Madju, who was relocated to Busch Gardens in 2016, last year became a father to a son himself! Melur proved an exceptional mother to Madju and dad Charlie an amazingly tolerant and attentive father as his son became more independent. Older female Wanita also played a special role as ‘aunty’ that included being Madju’s “non-stop play mate”!
“Melur has already shown us she’s a wonderful mother, and we’re in no doubt she will be again. After all, female orangutans care and nurture their young for at least eight years,” says Primate keeper Sarah Taylor-Robinson, who is playing a key role in the monitoring and care of Melur.
“Melur is still her usual joyful self, though we have noticed a slight decline in her energy as she moves closer to her third trimester. She’s always loved her food, and we’ve seen no change there. Her usual weight is around 54kg, but we expect she’ll get close to 70kg before she gives birth. Her tummy is now quite a well-defined beachball shaped bump.”