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Disowned Baby Orangutan Doing Well Under Zookeepers' Care [PHOTOS]

Jan 30, 2015 02:01 PM EST
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First-time mother Djasinga, age 11, disowned adorable baby orangutan Reike at Germany's Zoo Berlin after they failed to bond. However, don't feel too bad for the little tyke, for she is now doing well under zookeepers' care.

The 16-day-old Bornean orangutan, born on Jan. 12, is healthy and thriving - despite weighing less than a bag of sugar at just under four pounds, the Daily Express reports.

For their first two years of life, baby orangutans are entirely dependent on their mothers. In fact, they physically never leave their mother's side for a minute until they are four months old. The mother's duties include carrying her offspring while travelling, as well as feeding and sleeping in the same nest as her children.

Staffers at Zoo Berlin had hoped Djasinga would assume this role with her newborn, however attempts to get her and Reike to bond were unsuccessful. As an inexperienced mother, Djasinga could not tap into her motherly instincts.

So now the little one is being raised by zookeepers, who, among other things, feed the adorable ape every two to three hours, just like a human baby.

The zoo's animal care team, in cooperation with the European Endangered Species Programme, will begin the process of determining the next steps for the baby.

"We don't know whether Reike will stay in Berlin or be moved to another zoo," Berlin Zoo director Dr. Andreas Knieriem admitted to the Daily Express. "The Berlin team will decide that together. Our priority is the wellbeing of the animal."

Bornean orangutans are native only to the island of Borneo, where they inhabit rainforests. And like their close relatives, Sumatran orangutans, they are endangered and may soon face extinction as they lose more of their habitat to oil palm plantations. According to the World Wildlife Fund, orangutan populations have already declined by 50 percent in the last several decades, and over half of their rainforest habitat has been mowed down.

ZooBorns recommends that consumers only buy products with sustainable palm oil to help the orangutans keep their habitat.

And if you need some motivation, just think of other orangutans like adorable baby Reike that are in the wild and would appreciate your help. (More pictures below!)

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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