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Keju Meets Her New Mom!

By Rachel Davis
The newest arrival at Zoo Atlanta is Keju the Bornean orangutan. Keju has been introduced to Madu, a 32-year-old Sumatran orangutan, with heartwarming results: Keju has become Madu’s fourth foster child and first foster daughter.
Six-month-old Keju arrived in Atlanta on October 18 from the Dane County Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. The Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended that Keju be transferred to Zoo Atlanta after it became evident that her biological mother was not likely to provide appropriate maternal care. Madu, who has an outstanding track record for surrogacy, although she has no biological offspring, has accepted the youngster as her own. The pair has already begun developing the important bond that is one of the closest and longest-lasting of relationships between young animals and their mothers.
The opportunity to be reared by a fellow orangutan is essential to the development of young orangutans, who learn everything they know from their mothers. In the wild, these skills include knowledge of climbing safety, appropriate predator avoidance behaviors, the ability to identify and remember the locations of fruiting trees, and the ability to discern the appropriateness of certain fruits and other foods.
Keju and Madu are not yet on exhibit full-time. Stay tuned for updates on when members and guests will be able to see the new duo.

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