Satu, a longtime zoo resident, died unexpectedly at age 26, just before Christmas. According to a post on the zoo’s Facebook page, Satu had been fighting an illness. He’d done well after a check-up but later “collapsed” — the zoo’s vets suspect cancer as the cause of Satu’s untimely death:
Such a handsome fellow.
Then, on January 4, new hope arrived with Kaja, Satu’s son. Kaja’s mom, Indah, delivered the sweet baby at the zoo — the first Sumatran orangutan born there in more than 7 years.
“To witness the birth of such a majestic, critically endangered animal is a remarkable experience and brings us hope for the future,” said the zoo’s interim executive director, Erika Koehler, in a press release.
Less than 15,000 Sumatran orangutans still live in their native Indonesian habitat, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Human activities, like logging and hunting, have decimated their population. One more orangutan, even one thousands of miles away in San Diego, is a win for the whole species.
Baby alert! Orangutan Indah gave birth to a healthy baby boy on January 4th. His name is Kaja, after an island in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, that houses rehabilitated orangutans prior to release in the wild. pic.twitter.com/g8579M9xho
— San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (@sandiegozoo) January 18, 2022
The photos bring a tear to the eye, but just wait until you see the video. “We’re obsessed,” writes the zoo — and so am I!
We're obsessed pic.twitter.com/NInP9kGk1A
— San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (@sandiegozoo) January 22, 2022
Did you hear the tiny peeps? Kaja is too much!
As the thread above notes, Kaja is currently being raised by zoo staff. His mom, Indah, suffered complications during his delivery and isn’t ready to take over the 24/7 mom grind yet.
He’s having a rough start in life, but Kaja seems to be doing well! Here’s hoping things continue to look up for the little guy.