Feb. 12, 2024
Baby orangutans from Saint Louis Zoo and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium exchange valentines in the most adorable way.
Forest has his eye on a cutie! New baby Sumatran orangutan Forest at the Saint Louis Zoo exchanged special Valentine's Day enrichment with Clementine, a beautiful 3-month-old Bornean orangutan at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. These long-distance valentines were born less than a month apart and are much-loved additions to their zoo families.
Clementine gifted 2-month-old Forest with a heart-shaped box full of her namesake fruit, frozen treats and a giant love note. Since Forest is still so young, his mother Rubih and father Cinta enjoyed the surprise for him.
Not to be outdone, Forest sent his own love note addressed to "My Darling, Clementine” along with a bouquet of edible flowers, acacia, bottle tree branches and banana leaves that Clementine looked over curiously while clinging to mom.
Jan. 17, 2024
His name is Forest!
The 3-½-week-old male baby Sumatran orangutan was named Forest by the Primate Care team in honor of our Malaysian conservation partners Hutan, a grassroots nonprofit organization working to help orangutans in the wild. Hutan translates to “forest” in the Malay language and “orangutan” means person of the forest.
This morning, the Primate Care team provided the orangutan parents, Rubih and Cinta, with some fun, enriching items to discover at their Jungle of the Apes habitat. The outside of the colorfully decorated paper bags and papier-mâché items revealed the name Forest, and on the inside were some of the orangutans’ favorite foods including blueberries and grapes. The orangutans enjoy diluted fruit juice on occasion too.
Rubih is a natural at baby wearing — Forest clings tightly to Rubih’s chest all the time. She never sets him down or leaves him, which is exactly what a mother orangutan should be doing. Orangutan infants start clinging to mom and holding tightly to her hair almost immediately after birth, though mom helps support them at times. When Rubih is climbing throughout the habitat, Forest has started looking around at all the sights. He nurses frequently throughout the day. Ginger, Rubih’s 9-year-old sister, was only recently allowed by Rubih to gently touch Forest ever so briefly, but all the orangutans are very interested in observing the new addition.
Rubih may choose to spend some of her day in the orangutan dayroom at Jungle of the Apes where guests may get a glimpse of the pair; however, there is no set schedule. Providing the orangutans with an option of privacy is an important part of their quality care.
Dec. 28, 2023
Orangutan Baby Born on Dec. 22, 2023
St. Louis, Mo (Dec. 28, 2023) Rubih (pronounced ROO-bee), a 19-year-old Sumatran orangutan, gave birth to her first baby on Friday morning, Dec. 22, 2023, at Jungle of the Apes at the Saint Louis Zoo. This is the first orangutan birth at the Zoo in nine years and an important addition to the population of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans.
The newborn and its mother are doing well and bonding in the private maternity area of Jungle of the Apes. At times, Rubih may choose to spend some of her day in the orangutan dayroom at Jungle of the Apes where guests may get a glimpse of the pair; however, there is no set schedule. Providing the orangutans with an option of privacy is an important part of their quality care.
“The first couple of months are critical for newborn orangutans,” said Helen Boostrom, Zoological Manager of Primates, Saint Louis Zoo. “Rubih is a first-time mother and is doing an excellent job caring and providing for her baby and showing great maternal behaviors.”
Since Rubih is keeping the baby close for the time being, the Animal Care team has not been able to determine the sex of the baby. Once the sex is determined, a name will be selected by the care team.
The baby’s father is Cinta (pronounced Chin-tuh), 19, who came to St. Louis in 2012 from the San Diego Zoo. Rubih was born at the Zoo in 2004 to Merah. Merah and Cinta’s daughter Ginger, Rubih’s half-sister, was born in 2014 and lives with the family group at the Zoo.
Prior to the birth, the Primate Care and Animal Health teams worked with Rubih to allow voluntary ultrasound examinations to proactively monitor the health and development of the baby during gestation, which is between eight and nine months.
Species Survival Plan and Orangutan Conservation
The birth was the result of a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP), a scientific program to manage a genetically healthy orangutan population for this critically endangered species.
The three orangutan species — Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans, which are endemic to Sumatra, and Bornean orangutans, which are endemic to Borneo — are highly endangered due to an alarming rate of habitat loss. A global demand for palm oil has resulted in widespread deforestation and subsequent drastic declines in the number of orangutans that survive in the wild.
The Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute supports Hutan, a grassroots nonprofit organization working to build innovative approaches to conserve orangutan and other wildlife populations in the forests of Sabah. In 1998, Hutan set up the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Programme, which has long conducted high quality research and conservation activities in Sabah, one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.