Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomes a baby orangutan

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has announced that a baby orangutan has been welcomed into the park.

Weighing just three pounds, the park says the baby is currently healthy and being cared for by its mother, Luna. 

Guests can see the baby soon in the Jungala area of the park.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay reports that Bornean orangutans are critically endangered and typically live in the trees of tropical island rain forests, lowland swamps, or high in the mountains of Borneo. 

Unfortunately, Bornean orangutan populations have reportedly declined by more than 50% over the past 60 years and the species' habitat has been reduced by at least 55% over the past 20 years. 

The species is threatened by rapid deforestation and devastation of their habitat due to palm and other agricultural plantations, says the park.

Unfortunately, young orangutans are also reportedly illegally traded, while their mothers are often killed as poachers snatch their young.

So, this orangutan birth is part of part of Busch Gardens’ partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. 

Since 2006, the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has supported organizations like the Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program and HUTAN- Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project. These organizations help educate locals in Southeast Asia about orangutans, wildlife conservation and sustainable farming techniques, in addition to recording the local population of orangutans.