Brookfield Zoo orangutan serves as surrogate for baby orangutan - FOX 32 News Chicago

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Brookfield Zoo orangutan serves as surrogate for baby orangutan

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Provided Photo | Brookfield Zoo Provided Photo | Brookfield Zoo
BROOKFIELD, Ill. (FOX 32 News) -

An orangutan at the Brookfield Zoo is serving as the surrogate mother of a 6-month-old male orangutan from the Toledo Zoo. 

The orangutan baby, Kecil, was born in January to a mother who showed no interest in raising him after a difficult delivery. After many failed attempts to make Kecil's mother care for him, it was decided it would be best if he was placed with a surrogate mother.

Kecil was originally taken to the Milwaukee County Zoo to be placed with an orangutan named MJ. But after a month of engagements, it seemed the pair's relationship had plateaued.

Baby Kecil was then moved to Brookfield Zoo on June 20 and was introduced to his surrogate mother, 53-year-old orangutan Maggie. Maggie was chosen as Kecil's surrogate mother because of her calm demeanor and past success being a surrogate mother.

Zookeepers say, so far, they have noticed very positive interactions between Kecil and Maggie - the pair often plays together and baby Kecil often sleeps in Maggie's arms.

“Although it has been only a short time and we have a long road ahead of us, we are extremely optimistic due to Kecil and Maggie’s progress so far. Maggie is an easygoing and gentle orangutan. The two have been together since Kecil’s arrival, and Maggie has provided care and attention that he needs to receive from an orangutan.” said Jay Petersen, curator of primates and carnivores for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

Zookeepers say it could be a while before Maggie and Kecil will be moved to an exhibit, as they want to give them time to develop their relationship.

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