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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, June 27, 2022

New baby orangutan makes her home at the Henry Vilas Zoo

A new baby female orangutan was welcomed to parents Kawan and Datu earlier this month at the Henry Vilas Zoo, officials announced Thursday.

The baby, aptly named Keju, which is the Malay word for "cheese," was born April 9 and will be viewable to the public in the coming weeks.

"We are so excited to have Keju as part of our zoo family," Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a Thursday statement. "No matter where she goes in life, her name is a reminder that she is a true Wisconsinite."

Kawan underwent intensive maternal training to prepare her for motherhood, as typical orangutan babies spend the first year of their life exclusively on their mother. Kawan is currently struggling with the responsibility, but zoo staff are continuing to train her and are hopeful she will step up to care for Keju soon, according to the statement.

In the meantime, zoo staff wearing a special vest with fleece strips for the infant to hold onto to simulate Kawan's body will continue to care for Keju around the clock.

More information on Keju and her family, along with dates that she will be available to the public can be found on the zoo's Facebook page.

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