She’s just a few weeks old, but little Rieke is already a star. The orangutan baby was introduced to the public on Saturday, to the delight of hundreds of visitors at the Berlin Zoo.
No animal offspring has created this much excitement at the zoo since 2006, when polar bear Knut was raised by zookeepers after being rejected by his mother. Responsibility for Rieke, born in mid-January of this year, was also assumed by zoo staff when her mother Djasinga proved too inexperienced to care for the infant properly.
Rieke first glimpse of the public was from behind the glass windows of the monkey enclosure kitchen. "It was really crowded, so some people probably couldn’t see anything behind the window," said Zoo spokesperson Christiane Reiss. Visitors will be able to see Rieke when she’s bottle-fed, changed and weighed everyday around 1pm.
The young orangutan currently weighs 2290 grams and is around 40 centimeters long. But Rieke will soon leave Berlin for a new home, the Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre on England's southern coast. The center specializes in caring for abandoned or abused monkeys. At the center, Rieke will live together with other orangutans and even have a trained surrogate mother. "Unfortunately we cannot offer her that here,” Berlin Zoo Director Andreas Knieriem said. It is not yet clear when the baby orangutan will be relocated. Christiane Reiss says it may be a matter of weeks.