My Heart Now Belongs To A Baby Orangutan & His Loving Mom

Jordan Claes
Sumatran orangutan Sekali at the Toronto Zoo.
instagram | @thetorontozoo

The birth of a newborn is always something to celebrate. But the birth of a Sumatran orangutan these days isn't just momentous — it's downright miraculous.

That's because these incredible creatures are now on the verge of extinction, and without a drastic shift in conservation efforts, they could be wiped from the planet entirely.

This is why my whole heart now belongs to a baby orangutan and his loving mother, Sekali.

Last fall, representatives for the Toronto Zoo made an exciting announcement.

Sekali the orangutan getting an ultrasound.
instagram | @thetorontozoo

They revealed that one of their resident Sumatran orangutans, whose name is Sekali, was eating for two and was due to give birth in the early spring of 2022.

Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species, native to Borneo and Sumatra.

Mother orangutan and her infant.
Unsplash | Dimitry B

When left to their natural habitat, these incredibly intelligent primates live among the trees in tropical rainforests. Females practically never touch the ground and males only do so in very rare circumstances.

On Friday, April 8th, 2022, at 3:06 PM, Sekali welcomed her newborn baby into the world.

Sekali gave birth to a healthy male orangutan. This is the 29-year-old mother's second offspring, and the birth is said to have gone smoothly.

In a truly heartwarming video posted to the Toronto Zoo's official YouTube page, Sekali can be seen cuddling her adorable infant.

Sekali the orangutan with her baby.
instagram | @thetorontozoo

"Sekali’s maternal instincts kicked in right away," the zoo's press release read. "She immediately held the baby against her body, cleaned it, and showed concern whenever it vocalized."

The proud mother even brought her newborn to the zookeepers in order for them to provide a visual inspection.

Mother orangutan and her baby.
Giphy | PBS

This is all thanks to the prenatal training the zoo provided for Sekali while she was still pregnant, which included things like giving her a plastic cylinder for baby practice.

"We are incredibly excited to welcome this new addition to the Toronto Zoo family," said Dolf DeJong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo.

Sekali the orangutan and her baby.
instagram | @thetorontozoo

"Sumatran orangutans are under increasing pressure in the wild due to habitat loss and the palm oil crisis, which we are working with partners to address."

All in all, Sekali's pregnancy lasted for 243 days — which is roughly 8 months.

Mother and baby orangutan.
Unsplash | Bob Brewer

Not only is an orangutan's pregnancy shorter than that of a human's, but their babies are also much smaller — weighing in at only 1.3 - 2.5 kgs.

According to Toronto Zoo representatives, Sekali's newborn has come into the world at a truly opportune time.

Sekali and her baby at the Toronto Zoo.
youtube | Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has confirmed that a brand new outdoor orangutan habit is in its finishing stages and is due to be completed later this year.

With this new expanded space, the zoo's resident orangutans will have more options when it comes to daily activities.

Dancing orangutan.
Giphy |

Not only will the orangutans be able to stay indoors and enjoy their normal familiar space, but now they'll also be able to venture outside in order to experience a new array of sights and sounds.

Back in 2017, Sumatran orangutans were upgraded from Endangered to Critically Endangered.

Sekali and her baby orangutan.
youtube | Toronto Zoo

According to National Geographic, "A species is considered to be Critically Endangered when its population has declined at least 90%, and the cause of decline is known."

Today, there are less than 15,000 Sumatran orangutans living in the wild.

Face of an orangutan.
Unsplash | Jeremy Bezanger

In the last decade alone, the world is said to have lost more than 120,000 orangutans due to habitat loss. To learn more about the World Wildlife Foundation's conservation efforts, click here.