Posted By Lauriel O. Posted On

Mother orangutan reunites with her baby after being separated due to health issues

There’s nothing stronger than a mother’s love for her baby. It’s as true for animals as it is for humans.

For moms and their young, any time apart can be heartbreaking, but it makes the reunions even more special. That’s what one photo shows, as an orangutan and her baby embrace after being apart.

In January, 35-year-old orangutan Indah gave birth to a male baby named Kaja at the San Diego Zoo.

It was a moment worth celebrating for many reasons. Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, making their repopulation vitally important, and Kaja was the first orangutan born at the zoo since 2014.

But sadly, it wasn’t all good news: Indah began experiencing health complications after giving birth. A team of health experts determined that the orangutan was experiencing excessive bleeding and anemia.

Indah had to be hospitalized, and separated from her newborn. According to the zoo, wildlife care specialists stepped in to care for the infant.

Thanks to their quick intervention, Indah made a full recovery, and the staff began the careful process of reuniting the mom and her baby.

It would take time: Dean Gibson, curator of primates at the San Diego Zoo, called the reunion a “slow process that required a lot of patience and attentiveness.”

“After returning from the hospital, it took weeks for Indah to start interacting with Kaja,” he explained in a press release.

But finally, the two rekindled their mother-son bond, and a sweet photo shows Indah holding Kaja in her arms:

“Once they began spending time together, their bond grew rapidly—and now, they’re nearly inseparable,” Gibson said. “It warms my heart to see Indah back in the role of mom, because she does it so well.”

Seeing the sweet bond between these mother-and-child orangutans is a reminder of how intelligent and human-like orangutans are — all the more reason we should work hard to save this critically endangered species.

“Orangutans are a well-known species, so it may surprise many to hear that there is a possibility they could all be gone in the near future,” said Misha Body, director of wildlife care at the San Diego Zoo. “Wildlife births like Kaja’s are always exciting events, but seeing a new animal come into the world takes on a weightier meaning, as each new life signifies hope. And hope is a very precious thing in the realm of saving wildlife, because it can help sustain us as we continue our vital work.”