Eve, our female orangutan,
delivered Acara via c-section after a prolonged labor mothers day
weekend, 2005. Because of the c-section, Eve did not recognize the baby
Since the birth, staff and volunteers have been taking care of Acara 24
hours a day, seven days a week; all the while trying to introduce her
and her mother to each other. The introductions between the two started
immediately. Eve was nervous at first, not even sure who or what Acara
was. When Acara was very young and not very mobile, staff would
encourage Eve to come closer to the baby. Sometimes Acara would reach
up to touch or grab her motherâ€™s fur.
During the introductions, staff and volunteers were still taking care
of Acara. She needed her daily bottle feedings, as well as learning to
eat solid foods. Staff helped the young orangutan learn how to cling to
her mother by wearing a vest of fake fur. Staff even built Acara her
own â€œjungle gymâ€ that she could climb on.
After observing their growing bond toward each other, staff took the
next step to have the two spend the night together. With a staff member
tucked out of sight and checking on the pair through out the evening,
mother and daughter slept through Valentineâ€™s night, 2006, together.
The pair have been together ever since. The have become good companions
to each other, and are growing their â€œmother-daughterâ€ bond each day.
Bringing mother and daughter together is significant. This gives Eve an
opportunity to care for her first born, as well giving her a better
chance of successfully raising a baby in the future. By living with her
mom, Acara will learn from Eve how to behave like an orangutan and will
have a better chance of success living with other orangutans and in
raising her own offspring. Not only does this give Eve and Acara the
chance for a fulfilling life together but gives the residents of Utah
the opportunity to see this young baby grow and bond with her mother.
2008 Update – At the beginning of the year Eve and Acara were reintroduced to Eli, Acara’s father.
Things are going well and all three can be seen on exhibit together. Eli has proved to be very patient and gentle with
Acara often letting her climb all over his 350 pounds.