baby orangutan toronto zoo

The Toronto Zoo just got an adorable baby orangutan that will melt your cold heart

It can be brutal scrolling through social feeds these days, and between the sixth wave and the horrifying war overseas, everyone could use a little break from the negativity. And there are few distractions more effective than a cute baby animal.

The Toronto Zoo welcomed its latest adorable resident on Friday afternoon when Sumatran orangutan Sekali gave birth to a tiny but very hairy baby, and a video of the new mother and child's heartwarming interaction is exactly what you need to get you through those mid-week blues.

The April 8th delivery is the second baby for 29-year-old Sekali, who gave birth to a son, Kembali, in 2006.

In the lead-up to the baby's arrival, Sekali was closely monitored through signs of discomfort before her water broke at 11:30 a.m. The unnamed male baby was born at 3:06 p.m., and Sekali immediately went into mom mode as her instincts kicked into gear.

In a statement from the Zoo, it is explained that Sekali "immediately held the baby against her body, cleaned it, and showed concern whenever it vocalized. She even carefully repositioned the umbilical cord when shifting positions."

In an apparent show of appreciation for Zoo staff, Sekali "brought the baby up to the keepers to let them get a close visual check a few hours after it was born which is how they were able to identify the newborn as a male."

It's the first baby for her mate, the 15-year-old Budi. According to the Zoo, both Sekali and Budi were born right here in Toronto "and were paired at the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Orangutan Species Survival Plan."

"This cooperative breeding program, coupled with direct support of conservation work in Sumatra, is part of the Toronto Zoo's commitment to ensure this critically endangered species will survive for future generations."

The program has proven successful, with 13 orangutans raised at the Toronto Zoo since 1974.

But it's nowhere near enough to move the needle on the species' decline. Sumatran orangutans' conservation status was upgraded (or downgraded, in reality) from Endangered to Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature in 2017.

Fewer than 15,000 Sumatran orangutans can be found in the wild, while an estimated 120,000 orangutans have been lost in just the last decade as their habitat is destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations. 

If you want to see the cute new arrival, the video released by the Toronto Zoo will have to do for now, as Sekali and her baby will not be visible to guests.

Lead photo by

Toronto Zoo


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