Dara the Orangutan Gives Birth at Virginia Zoo

There’s a new baby at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk!

Dara the orangutan had her first baby Friday night, the zoo announced Monday afternoon.

Photos show Dara and her baby (zookeepers have yet to determine its sex) chilling out indoors because of how hot it’s been, allowing for some uninterrupted snuggle time.

“We couldn’t be more excited about the news of our new orangutan baby,” said Greg Bockheim, the zoo’s executive director. “I’m proud of our Zoo Keepers and Vet Team who have been prepping, training and waiting for this moment for months, and now their hard work has paid off. It’s a big success to contribute this significant birth to the Zoo community and the critically endangered species as a whole.”

The two won’t be separated in meantime unless an issue arises in which the baby needs assistance, zoo officials say. Newborn orangutans are completely dependent on the mother for up to two years and usually nurse past that age. They’ll stay close to their mothers until at least the age of 10, officials added.

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“Dara is doing a great job caring for her newborn,” said Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the zoo’s veterinarian. “The pair spend their time nursing, resting and snuggling in their den.”

It’s the first baby for both Dara, 18, and her mate, 15-year-old Solaris. The baby joins a few other youngsters at the park, including baby zebra Athena, baby bongo Baxter, and lion cub Emery.

The zoo’s orangutan count is now up to five — Dara and her baby, Solaris, 38-year-old female Pepper and 36-year-old male Schnitz.