Orangutan Receives an Ultrasound as Caretakers Feed Her Treats
Batang, a 19-year-old Bornean orangutan became the first of her species to get pregnant at the Smithsonian National Zoo.
According to a press release, she was bred with a male named Kyle in January, and was confirmed to be pregnant in the beginning of February.
Since then, she has been receiving ultrasounds twice a week to monitor her condition.
Even though a healthy baby orangutan is expected to be born in mid-September, officials said in a press statement that they intend to continue to keep a close eye to her pregnancy.
In a recent video by the Smithsonian National Zoo and conservation Biology Institute, primate caretakers can be seen signaling for Batang to press her stomach against the cage.
"The ultra sound that we're doing is just like you would if you were a human woman pregnant, if you're looking at the fetus," a caretaker explained.
A primate caretaker can be seen pressing a transducer probe against Batang's stomach through the grid of the cage, as another caretaker can be seen with the display, noting all the movements and developments of Batang's fetus.
All the while, Batang is being fed treats through the cage as she hangs comfortably against the wall using her hands and feet.
"Watching her fetus develop over the past few months has been incredibly exciting, and we're making every effort to ensure our efforts come to fruition," The zoo's primate curator Meredith Bastian said in a press statement.
The Smithsonian National Zoo reported that to acclimate Batang to motherhood, caretakers have been teaching her to hold an orangutan stuffed animal and to use a breast pump for the past three years.
"The training is especially important for a first-time mother, like Batang," the Zoo's press statement reported. "Training increases the likelihood that orangutan mothers will care for their infants."
The facility even gave two other orangutans similar training, in case one must step up to become a surrogate mother.
Because the Bornean orangutan is considered endangered, the Smithsonian National Zoo will take no risks when it comes to Batang's pregnancy.