Lana, the Greenville Zoo’s female Sumatran orangutan, and her one-month-old daughter will make their public debut in the orangutan exhibit this Saturday, September 8. The zoo staff has spent the past few weeks making the exhibit more “kid-friendly” so that mother and baby can enjoy some sunshine and fresh air and the baby can explore her new environment. Their time on exhibit will be rotated with father Kumar’s, who will have access to the exhibit during the cooler morning hours. Lana and the baby will have access to the exhibit during the warmer part of the day, from around noon until closing. This rotation will continue for several months and the staff will closely monitor and record the family’s interactions inside (between the mesh separating their dens) to help determine the appropriate time to introduce Kumar to the baby.
With mother and baby doing so well, and zoo guests soon having an opportunity to see the baby on exhibit and get a feel for her personality, the next step is to name her. Because of Lana’s age, this will be her only offspring, which makes selecting the perfect name even more important. Beginning this Friday, September 7, zoo supporters can submit their favorite names online for a suggested donation of $15 (any amount will be accepted). Those who do not wish to donate can submit their name suggestions via mail to Baby Orangutan, C/O Greenville Zoo, 150 Cleveland Park Drive, Greenville, SC 29601. To further the zoo’s mission of promoting conservation efforts, the funds raised through the baby naming will be used to support the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, which is the only project actively establishing new, genetically viable and self-sustaining wild populations of any great ape species, anywhere in the world.
The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 30 and the winning name will be selected by the staff members who have been caring for the baby since her birth. The winning name will be announced on Thursday, October 4. The person who submitted the winning name will be recognized during the announcement event on October 4 and receive a household membership to the zoo, a special behind-the-scenes tour with opportunities to visit with the zookeepers who cared for the baby and a special invitation to attend the baby’s birthday celebration each year on August 7.