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Male Orangutan Surprisingly Takes On The Mom Role After Mate Unexpectedly Passes

Denver Zoo

After two-year-old orangutan Cerah’s mom unexpectedly passed away last month, zookeepers at the Denver Zoo were worried. Who would help raise this young orangutan and provide a good model of behavior?

Zookeepers ended up being shocked when Cerah’s dad Berani stepped up to the do something very unusual for male orangutans—Berani began taking on the responsibilities of a mother.

Denver Zoo

“For everyone wondering how our little Cerah is doing, our keepers will tell you that we are so fortunate that her dad Berani has stepped up to the plate. In the wild, orangutan males are not involved with their offspring. To see Berani step up as Mr. Mom, is an extremely rare situation—and Cerah couldn’t have asked for a better dad,” the Zoo wrote on their Facebook page.

“Berani is so attentive and protective of her, seeing to all her needs. He will carry her, comfort her, and even snuggles her when she sleeps. As for big sis Hesty, she’s been taking on her share with Cerah and plays with her through out the day. The three of them are sticking together and moving forward.”

Denver Zoo

Bored Panda spoke with Carlie McGuire, the Public Relations Coordinator at the Denver Zoo, to find out more about the situation and how Berani and Cerah were doing.

“In the wild, male orangutans are not known to be involved in the raising of offspring at all,” explained Mcguire.

But when it comes to orangutan dad Berani, he “has always been an exception to the typical role of a male orangutan.”

McGuire added that “before Nias’ (the mother’s) death, Berani was known for treating Hesty, Nias’ first daughter, like his own offspring. Hesty is not Berani’s biological daughter, but he always treated her as such. So it’s no surprise to us now that he’s stepped in to take care of Cerah.”

Denver Zoo

Today, Berani continues to perform his nurturing duties for Cerah. According to McGuie, “the whole troop is doing well, and 11-year-old Hesty, who is only a few years away from being able to start having her own children, is doing a good job playing with Cerah throughout the day.”

Lead image: Facebook/Denver Zoo

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi