Sanctuary announces success in birth control

Posted in 08/05/2020

Sunshine and baby moments after birth (CGA)

From Center for Great Apes

We have a special announcement to share with our friends and supporters.

In our 27-year history, the Center for Great Apes has successfully implemented birth control methods for all our sanctuary residents with no “birth control failures”… until now.

Sunshine, a 37-year-old female orangutan who arrived at our sanctuary three years ago from the entertainment world, gave birth to a little female one morning in February. She had been on birth control since she arrived at the sanctuary, so we had no reason to think she was pregnant.

However, suddenly there was a tiny orange bit of fluff climbing up to her chest… the caregivers saw the baby only minutes after she was born. To say we were all shocked is to put it mildly!

While reproducing more infants is definitely not a sanctuary ethic or activity, this little female will have all the love and care that each of our other great ape residents receive at the Center. Thankfully, Sunshine is being a loving and caring mother. “Sunny” (as we call her) gave birth to three previous infants at a breeding compound, but they were each taken from her, and she never raised them.

Our staff has named the infant Cahaya, which in Indonesian means “light”, “radiant” and “shine”. We thought this an appropriate name for Sunshine’s offspring.

Sunny is doing a very good job raising her infant, and she watchfully allows the others in her group to interact with the baby.

The father, 15-year-old Archie, still acts like a juvenile himself and can barely contain his desire to touch the baby and kiss her. He is completely fascinated with little Cahaya and gentle in his approach. Sunshine lets Archie touch Cahaya, but not yet hold or carry her. Archie’s older sister Keagan (17 years) is a wonderful aunt to the infant, and Sunny allows Keagan more privileges and interactions than she does Archie.

This birth was not in our plan or mission… but when we look at this precious infant, it’s hard not to feel happiness and joy for Sunshine that she will finally be able to raise her own infant.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to Sunshine… and Happy Mother’s Day to all our wonderful friends and supporters!

Happy Mother’s Day

We also celebrate our other great apes at the sanctuary who were once mothers including Popi, Sandra, and Bailey as well as those lucky ones who were reunited with their offspring here: Oopsie (Jessie & Boma’s mother), Daisy (Angel’s mother), Geri (Jam’s mom), Boma (Knuckles’ mother), and Jessie (Kodua & Stryker’s mom).

We are also thinking today about all the wild-born orangutan babies now in orphanages and rehabilitation centers in Borneo and Sumatra who are missing their mothers.

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