An orangutan at a zoo in Virginia, got some valuable help from a fellow mom, although the other mom was a human.
Zoe, the 13-year-old orangutan, was orphaned when she was only nine years old. Due to this, she never learnt behaviours from her mother, something that primates usually do.
Metro Richmond Zoo’s spokesperson, Jim Andelin told the Today Show that when she gave birth to her baby, being a mother and breastfeeding didn’t come naturally to Zoe.
“She would hold him sort of like he was a soda can, and never bring him close to her. She refused to nurse. She didn’t even want to look at him.”
So, zoo officials called on one of their own to show Zoe the ropes.
Whitlee Turner, a zookeeper was asked to breastfeed her own newborn in front of Zoe to show her how to do it. Turner breastfed her baby while talking to Zoe and pointing at her, at her baby and at her breasts.
“The whole time she just kept watching me curiously. She didn’t immediately breastfeed her baby, but she was definitely watching the whole time.”
Less than 24 hours later, Zoe managed to successfully breastfeed her baby.
Image credit: WSVN