Audubon Zoo is home to three endangered Sumatran orangutans. The youngest member of the troop, Menari, was born at the Zoo in June 2009. While Menari is a New Orleans native her mother, Feliz, came from Brownsville, Texas, and Berani, her father, came from the Miami Zoo. The last orangutan birth at the Zoo (before Menari) was Blaze, who arrived in 1996.
Menari's birth was a heralded event because Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species. Their wild population has been reduced by 50% since 1993 but there is hope. To help this species, Audubon participates with AZA’s Wildlife Conservation and Management Committee (WCMC) that manages over 500 cooperative Animal Programs, including Taxon Advisory Groups, Species Survival Plan® Programs (SSP) and Studbook Programs. These Animal Programs, in coordination with significant contributions from AZA Scientific Advisory Groups, Institutional Liaisons and Institutional Representatives are responsible for the extraordinary leadership, development, oversight, promotion, evaluation and support of AZA’s cooperative animal management, conservation and scientific initiatives.
Audubon Zoo's involvement with these initiatives covers 110 species including Menari and her orangutan family. Menari is growing into a healthy, active youth and can be seen playing with her parents in the Asia exhibit.