Imagine receiving a call that a 4-month-old orangutan baby had been confiscated by the local army from a farmer and it’s presumed her mother was killed. In March 2019, that’s exactly what happened to our conservation partner, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). When Brenda arrived at the SOCP facility, vets discovered she was malnourished and had a fracture in her upper arm. Luckily a Swiss surgeon was on hand and performed surgery to repair her fracture. As an orphan, Brenda needed substitute “moms” who stayed with her around the clock to provide her feedings. She adjusted well to her “moms” and became a typical healthy baby orangutan, she was curious, sticking everything into her mouth, shrieking and grouching when she wanted something. Brenda now lives in the Baby House where she pulls and rolls around with other young orangutans learning forest skills and living with her wild relatives for the first time. Brenda will be at the SOCP facility until she is a young adult – 5 or 6 more years and her story will have a happy ending. Brenda’s keepers at SOCP are convinced that one day, Brenda will roam the rainforest of Sumatra. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo partners with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme providing for the care, rehabilitation and release of Sumatran Orangutans like little Brenda.
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme is the only project actively establishing entirely new, genetically viable and self-sustaining wild populations of any great ape species, anywhere in the world. If you would like to learn how SOCP is creating new wild orangutan populations, please visit their website at sumatranorangutan.org.