Orangutan Father Swings Into Action to Look After His Daughters

Published by Elena Waldman.

Raising kids is challenging for a single parent, but the unbreakable bond between this orangutan family of three—little Cerah; her big sister, Hesty; and her widower father, Berani—shows that sometimes, it doesn’t take a village to raise a child (just one great super-dad).

Posted by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

When Cerah and Hesty lost their mother, Berani didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate. As orangutans typically stay with their moms for about seven or eight years after birth, it’s especially important for 2-year-old Cerah to have an involved caretaker—and there’s no better one than Berani. In photos, he’s seen nurturing, carrying, and cuddling his baby daughter. Attentive and protective, this orangutan dad shows that the paternal role is just as important to other animals as it is to us.

Posted by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In one photo, Berani holds Cerah while she nibbles on his chin. (We aren’t crying—you are.)

Posted by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Another shows the dedicated dad swinging from branch to branch while his little one holds on tightly.

Posted by Denver Zoo on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

As for big sis Hesty, who’s 10 years old, Berani is still just as involved. The two of them spend their time playing together throughout the day, and Hesty even takes on some of the caretaking responsibilities for her baby sister.

Aside from close parent-child relationships, you’re more similar to orangutans than you may realize. They communicate using complex gestures, empathize with others, laugh when they play, and exhibit signs of self-awareness. And like all animals, they can suffer.

At the Suncoast Primate “Sanctuary,” an orangutan named Pongo and other primates are languishing inside small, solitary, prison-like cages. The crummy roadside zoo deprives them of enrichment and socialization, which is driving them insane.

Footage recorded at the facility shows primates rocking back and forth and spinning in circles, which are signs of severe psychological distress. If you want to help these suffering animals and give them a new home where they can foster meaningful connections (like Berani, Cerah, and Hesty have), ask Suncoast to transfer them to accredited sanctuaries.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind