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Adorable baby orangutan makes debut

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Asmara, a 3-month-old Sumatran Orangutan at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, played and relaxed in her exhibit Thursday morning. The zoo let media outlets in the Orangutan Valley exhibit at the Indonesian Rain Forest for a photo opportunity.

The zoo is working to have Asmara, which means love in Indonesian, ready to meet visitors by the time the zoo opens April 25.

“The goal is to mix all four of our orangutans behind-the-scenes, and once they’re comfortable, we’ll let them all go out on exhibit together,” Indonesian Rain Forest area manager Tanisha Dunbar explained in a press release. “They always have a choice. They can choose whether or not to go out each morning, although Tara’s never been one to stay behind-the-scenes.”

Asmara was born on November 22 to 19-year-old Tara and her mate Tengku. She is expected to stay at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo for the foreseeable future, according to the release from the zoo. This is because orangutans have the longest childhood of any animal other than humans. They remain with their mothers for six to eight years.

There are fewer than 7,000 Sumatran Orangutans in the wild. These apes are found only on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The population is on drastic decline because of illegal hunting and the destruction of the forest. Some experts predict orangutans could become extinct in the wild within a few decades if things don’t change.