Print This Article The Wichita Eagle Back to web version
Thursday, April 17, 2014

New additions – the cuddly kind – at the Sedgwick County Zoo

By Beccy Tanner
The Wichita Eagle

It’s beginning to be baby time at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

In the Koch Orangutan & Chimpanzee Habitat, Mabusu, a chimpanzee born two summers ago, is now full of energy — like any 2-year-old human baby — and busy playing with his big sister, Sukari and dad, Moshi.

And Kinali, a baby orangutan, has been teething.

“Kinali was hand-reared by our keepers,” said Devin Bailey, orangutan and chimpanzee keeper at the zoo. “His mom didn’t know how to be a mom and so the last nine months, we have been teaching her how to be a mom. He is now learning how to climb and is getting teeth. He can finally eat the food his mom is eating. There are times when you can tell he won’t feel as good or eat because he is getting another tooth.”

The baby orang has three teeth so far.

And although he is not on exhibit to the public, Bailey said, visitors can still see Kinali daily in the zoo’s holding area.

Besides the baby primates, there are baby African wild dogs, two wallaby joeys and an okapi –a giraffe-like animal – is expected in July.

“Everybody is ready to enjoy the outside again,” said Danielle Decker, senior keeper of the Downing Gorilla Forest at the zoo.

The six African wild dogs were born in November and are on exhibit daily, said Jan Nelson, mammal keeper at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

In the Australian Outback, visitors might catch glimpses of the wallaby joeys. One has occasionally been seen peeking its head out of its mother’s pouch. Within a month, they should both be out of their mothers’ pouches and hopping around.

And, as July nears, be on the lookout for a baby okapi in the Downing Gorilla Forest exhibit.

The female okapi, Decker said, is showing signs of being extremely pregnant.

“The okapi have a 14½ month gestation period,” Decker said. “We’ve been waiting a long time for this baby.”

The okapi is the only known relative of the giraffe, Decker said. It is not as tall and has different markings than a giraffe.

This will be the second okapi born at the Sedgwick County Zoo.

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com.

© 2012 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansas.com