Orangutan Learns To Breastfeed By Watching Zookeeper

The orangutan, Zoe, was orphaned at 9 months old and didn’t have maternal instincts.

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
April 11, 2023

An orangutan at the Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia has been taught how to breastfeed by a fellow mother, a zookeeper.

The orangutan, named Zoe, lost her mother when she was nine months old and had no natural maternal instincts. She failed to nurse her first baby correctly so the zookeepers had to hand-raise the baby. When Zoe became pregnant again, the zookeepers worked hard to ensure she would be able to raise the baby on her own.

One zookeeper, Jessica Gring, carried a stuffed orangutan around her neck and waist for months during Zoe's pregnancy to demonstrate how to hold and care for a baby. They also set up a TV so Zoe could watch videos of orangutans giving birth and caring for their babies. After Zoe gave birth, another zookeeper, Whitlee Turner, breastfed her three-month-old son Caleb in front of Zoe so she could watch a live demonstration. Within 24 hours of the live lesson, Zoe began breastfeeding her own baby successfully.

Read more (via Good Morning America)

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