CFFC – Man-Made Items: Orangutan Conservation

The Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, so it always makes my day to see the San Diego Zoo matriarch, Indah, with her seven-month-old son, Kaja. Kaja is the first orangutan born at the zoo since 2014.

Seven-month-old Kaja napping in mom Indah’s arms after playtime on San Diego Zoo’s man-made canopy.

For Kaja and Indah, it was a rough start. If any of you have visited the San Diego Zoo in the past, you might remember their large male orangutan, Satu, whose dreadlocks reached the ground. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer two weeks before his son Kaja was born.

Satu taking a break, while watching his family (out of shot), at the San Diego Zoo in 2021.

Satu’s passing sent Indah into a depression (orangutans have remarkably similar emotions to humans), which didn’t help matters, because she apparently had a rough delivery with Kaja. Zookeepers and vets had to take care of Kaja for a few months, so now that we get to see Indah cradling Kaja out in the enclosure, it is heartwarming. She can’t nurse Kaja because it took too long for her to bond with him, but luckily, she cares for him now and lets the zookeepers feed him bottles in the nursery (behind the scenes). Indah and Kaja are not out very long. I always seem to miss Kaja playing, even when I get to the zoo early; this past visit was no exception. One of the volunteers told me that Kaja had spent all morning trying to pull himself up and wore himself out–hence, the tired baby in Indah’s arms. Occasionally, I would see Kaja lift his head or squirm, but he was definitely down for the count, as you can see by his little foot dangling.

A very tired Kaja dangles from Indah as she holds onto the man-made canopy, mimicking a similar behavior to those in the Sumatran treetop canopies.

I am grateful that we have conservation programs such as the one at the San Diego Zoo. I wish I could see these creatures in the wild, but I know that would just disturb them more (and there’s not many left). So, for now, I will relish in taking photos of orangutans hanging out in man-made treetop canopies, even if it means having the poles and ropes in the way; sharing for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC) – Man-Made Items.

Getting a peek at Kaja, who is craning his head around to get a glimpse of his older sister Aisha (out of shot), despite all the man-made structures in the way.

Not to be outdone, Aisha, who is Kaja’s eight-year-old sister, loves to show off. I think that she was trying to get Kaja’s attention, because this is what she was doing when he was watching her. She would often look at Kaja or swing up to his canopy to look at him.

Eight-year-old Aisha, whose parents are also Satu and Indah, acting silly with the man-made ropes at the San Diego Zoo.

To learn more about Sumatran Orangutans and conservation, check out this post on World Wildlife Fund.

Sumatran orangutan Karen, who is now thirty thanks to San Diego Zoo’s life-saving heart surgery, uses a man-made shade to shelter from the sun (or to play?).

Published by Dawn Palmer

I am a professional proofreader (ProofreadingatDawn.com) and write a photography blog (PeacefulatDawn.com). In my free time, I love taking photos, admiring beautiful moments in nature, and I will often be out early in the morning or late in the evening trying to capture the peacefulness and beauty around me.

12 thoughts on “CFFC – Man-Made Items: Orangutan Conservation

  1. Glad you shared these incredible pictures as you noted, these orangutans are difficult to see at times in their habitats. Enjoyed the narrative and insights of these animals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a sweet story, with so much real life info about how they are endangered. And the importance of conservation efforts. And it’s fun and I love that ou captured personalities in your post. A walk through a zoo once a year doesn’t do that. (You should send this to the zoo). Donna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! 😊 I belong to a local photo group for the zoo where we share these photos. Some of them get to camp out at the zoo and get all sorts of amazing shots. As I was taking these, a couple of them were next to me with even bigger lenses and tripods, etc. 🤓😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be super cool to camp out, hearing to sounds of the animals, waking with the birds, and no crowds. I did enjoy it. I have a membership to our zoo, mostly for grandkids. I think I want to go by myself one day after seeing your post.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I used to do the same thing at the zoos there. I like focusing on a couple animals and watching them for a while. It’s only when I bring people with me that I end up walking the entire zoo, and I miss out on their little behaviors. 🤓😎

        Like

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