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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.

Zookeepers hand-reared Rieke for the past few months, but felt it was best that she go somewhere that she can receive around-the-clock care and socialize with others of her kind.

Monkey World is the largest rescue center for primates in the World. The goal is to eventually incorporate Rieke into one of their orangutan tribes so that she can be raised by a foster mother.

At the sanctuary, Rieke enjoys the company of another orphaned baby orangutan, Bula Muta. Having a little friend to show her the ropes will help Rieke adjust to her new home.


Although she had a rough start in life, things are looking up for Rieke. While she should be with her mother, it is wonderful that she will get the chance to grow and live outside of zoo.

Looks to us like Rieke will fit in just fine at Monkey World; check her out in the video below: