ZooTampa Welcomes Third Generation Baby Orangutan
This past February ZooTampa at Lowry Park welcomed it’s newest addition, a baby orangutan named Sulu! It is a baby girl and she is a third generation Bornean Orangutan at the zoo. Her mother, Hadiah, and grandmother, Josie, are also residents at ZooTampa.
The Bornean Orangutan is a critically endangered species according to World Wild Life but thanks to conservation efforts, babies like this one bring us one step closer to restoring the population of this beautiful species. Joe Couceiro, President and CEO of ZooTampa stated, “Our dedication to protect and preserve wildlife and the natural world we all share is at the forefront of everything we do.”
Her birth was extra special as it took place during zoo hours. This meant that guests were able to see the process which involved her mother, Hadiah, and her wonderful caretakers. “Normally… babies have always been born overnight or early in the morning when the orangutans are inside, and so just to have guests be a part of that and to see that happening was a really cool experience this time,” shared Jane Lefave, animal care supervisor of primates, ZooTampa at Lowry Park.
Over the years the zoo has been very successful in birthing many healthy babies of various species. Some of the additions include a Pygmy Hippo named Zsa Zsa, four extremely rare Red Wolf pups, a Malayan Tapir named Tiga, African Painted pups, Southern White Rhinos, Blue Duikers, and this list goes on!
The zoo also participates in rescue and rehabilitation efforts which further contribute to conservation efforts. For example, while Florida Panthers Cypress and Pepper were not born at ZooTampa they were taken in and cared for by zoo staff after being orphaned. In 2019 the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) asked the zoo to care for and assist in the evaluation of the panther kittens. Cypress and Pepper now live happy and healthy lives at the White Oak Conservation, a 17,000-acre wildlife refuge in Northeast Florida thanks to the zoo and their staff.
ZooTampa is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). This status recognizes zoos and aquariums that meet the highest standards of animal care, conservation and education.
According to the ZooTampa website “The Zoo participates in nearly 100 of AZA’s networks for managing endangered and threatened species, and has won numerous awards for its animal conservation and management programs. The State of Florida formally recognized the Zoo in 2004 as a center for biodiversity and conservation. It exhibits the most comprehensive species of endangered Florida wildlife anywhere. This is best reflected in the work we do every day at the Jacarlene Animal Care Campus which features the Tiedemann-Cotton Animal Care Annex, and our Catherine Lowry Straz Veterinary Hospital which has earned accreditation with the American Association of Animal Hospitals (AAHA) twice since opening in 2015. We are the only zoo in USA to have ever earned that distinction.”
Being such a prestigious zoo it comes as no surprise that ZooTampa landed the series Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa on Nat Geo. The show debuted in January of 2020 and has since gone on for 3 seasons. The third season came out in February of 2022 and is still going strong with episodes every Sunday!