Zoe, a 14-year-old orangutan, had never seen another orangutan mother raise a baby. She was orphaned at nine months old, and her first baby, Taavi, had to be hand-raised by keepers. So, when Zoe’s second baby was born in December 2022, the zoo thought about a live demonstration. New mom Whitlee Turner, a zookeeper for three years, who had difficulty at first nursing her son Caleb, agreed to help. Nursing Caleb in front of an orangutan enclosure was one of the more unusual spots in which she’s fed her child, Turner said. “She was so observant, and [orangutans] are so humanlike. She was looking me in the eye as I was talking and looking at Caleb and just holding her baby next to her.” Zoe didn’t immediately breastfeed her baby when Turner was there but less than 24 hours later, nursed her newborn for the first time.

Read Full Story