In the wild, orangutan mothers share an extraordinary bond with their babies. Like human children, orangutans are completely reliant on their mothers for care until around two years of age, and most don’t leave their mother’s side until adolescence. For this reason, recent news that a mother orangutan at the Berlin Zoo rejected her baby, right after birth, comes as a bit of a shock.
The reason that Djasinga refused to care for her baby is unknown, but it is not uncommon for zoo primates to reject their young at birth. This could be related to the stress associated with captivity or the fact that they were separated from their own mothers at an early age.
But the good news is that Djasinga’s baby, Rieke, has been sent to Monkey World Rescue Center in the UK for lifelong care.