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Endangered orangutan born at US zoo

An endangered Sumatran orangutan has given birth to a healthy female at a zoo in Indiana, keepers said today.

Fewer than 7,000 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild, with about 320 in zoos worldwide.

The birth on Saturday was the first for the Fort Wayne zoo's 19-year-old female orangutan, Tara, who was expected to give birth between mid-November and early December.

Because Tara has never seen another female caring for an infant, officials were concerned that she might not know how to care for her newborn, but she "is doing everything she should to care for her baby", animal curator Mark Weldon said.

"We're thrilled with the outcome so far," he said. "Tara is proving to be a good mother."

The baby, who has yet to be named, is the only Sumatran orangutan born in the United States this year, although two other orangutans also are pregnant, according to the zoo.

Visitors will have their first chance to see the new baby when the zoo opens for the season on April 25. The baby's father is Tengku, the zoo's 28-year-old male orangutan.

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