The Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has announced the death of a baby primate born on Aug. 16
A mother orangutan is mourning the loss of her week-old baby, the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo has announced.
On Thursday, the Indiana-based zoo revealed that a baby orangutan born on Aug. 16 has died, and that the baby's mother Tara is currently grieving her loss.
"When welcoming a new life to the Zoo, we are reminded of how beautiful and fragile life can be," a Facebook post read. "We are heartbroken to announce that the baby orangutan born on August 16 has passed away. His time at the Zoo will be cherished, especially by his Animal Care Team."
The zoo added that guests will not be able to see Tara, 28, on exhibit "until she is ready."
"Thank you for all of your love and support over the past few days and as we grieve at this time," it concluded the post.
The arrival of the Sumatran orangutan, who had yet to be publicly named, was announced on Facebook last week as the zoo noted that he and Tara were "bonding behind the scenes" shortly after the birth.
Tara shared the baby with Tengku, 37, the only male orangutan at the zoo. The two previously welcomed Asmara in 2014.
"Both births represent hope, as Sumatran orangutans are listed as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and this new addition to the Species Survival Plan will further ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population within zoo-housed orangutans," the zoo wrote at the time.
After the baby's birth, the zoo worked to baby proof the orangutan habitat, adding bales of straw, lower-hanging vines, and offering some family bonding behind the scenes.
“We are overjoyed to welcome another baby orangutan at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. This marks our third orangutan birth and the second male orangutan since 2006,” said Dr. Kami Fox, director of Animal Health & Conservation, said at the time. “Tara and baby are doing well, and we are happy to see them bonding behind the scenes.”
Fox added after the baby's birth that “orangutans grow very slowly, so this baby will still be clinging to mom and learning to climb for a while."
Fort Wayne notes on its website that about 316 Sumatran orangutans live in zoos around the world, with roughly 11 babies born each year.
The primates are found only in Indonesia, with their population declining due to illegal hunting and their homes being destroyed, per the zoo's website. Less than 13,800 of the species can be found in the wild.
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