Congratulations to Ibu and Butch, The El Paso Zoo’s Sumatran orangutans that are expecting their first baby this spring.

This will be the first offspring for both 23-year-old Ibu and 29-year-old Butch. Ibu is one of only 12 females included in the current breeding recommendation of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan for this species.

Butch came to El Paso Zoo to breed with Ibu in March of 2011, as part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP). Ibu and Butch have bonded well over the last three years and soon will be expecting a baby.

The El Paso Zoo is encouraging the community to help with Ibu’s baby training by purchasing a plush orangutan at the Zoo’s gift shop and donating it to Ibu.

Maintaining a breeding population in accredited zoos is an integral component to the future of their survival due to the pressure on wild populations. The El Paso Zoo is one of 27 AZA accredited institutions with Sumatran orangutans.

Many conservationists predict that if any of the five species of great apes become extinct in the wild during this century, it will be the Sumatran orangutan. The wild population has declined dramatically by more than 50 percent during the past few decades with an estimated wild population of only 7,300.

The El Paso Zoo has focused on Sumatran orangutan conservation efforts as one of its top priorities over the past 10 years with support from the El Paso Zoological Society Conservation Fund. The fund supports programs in Indonesia that rescue and relocate hundreds of injured, orphaned and displaced orangutans.

In recent years, the Zoo has expanded its conservation efforts to include more targeted education programs, the further development of a palm oil smart phone application and a partnership with UTEP that sends Zoo staff to Indonesia to assist with “hands on” orangutan conservation.

To follow Ibu’s pregnancy and get exclusive weekly information, the community can follow her mommy blog “Motherhood: A New WILD Life…From Sonogram to Orangutan” at