A Baby Shower for Dara!

The Virginia Zoo is throwing an orangutan baby shower! Come help us celebrate mom-to-be Dara on Sunday, May 20, at 11 am at the orangutan exhibit in Asia – Trail of the Tiger. The event will feature fun activities for all ages, plus a Keeper Chat at Noon and of course, presents for our primates!

Since orangutan infants get all they need from their mothers, you’re invited to help shower the Zoo’s four orangutans, Dara, Solaris, Pepper and Schnitz, with gifts that are animal-friendly. The registry can be found at Amazon.com and the items will be used for enrichment purposes for all the orangutans. Enrichment items serve to mentally and physically stimulate the animals.

The more than 40 registry gifts, which include sand buckets, a lullaby cd and kids’ non-toxic paint, range in price from $5 to $150. While the blankets and bubble bath may seem like the usual supplies, some may seem peculiar — like the DVD player. Each item on the list was carefully selected for a specific reason. In the case of the DVD player, the Keepers can occasionally play nature, animated or children’s movies to provide additional enrichment to the orangutans. Just goes to show, you are never too old (and you don’t have to be a human primate) to enjoy a good movie!

Guests are asked to please keep all new and unused items in their original packaging for the safety of the animals.

Bornean orangutan populations have declined by more than 50 percent in the past 60 years due to poaching, the illegal pet trade, human-animal conflict and habitat loss. Plus, orangutans have one of the slowest reproductive rates of all mammals, making this birth tremendously significant, not only for the Virginia Zoo but its overall species.

If you can’t make it to the shower, you can head over to Amazon.com to buy a gift for all of the orangutans and the new arrival coming this June. Gifts can be mailed directly to the Zoo:

Attn: Asia Team-Oranugtans
3500 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23504

You can also follow along with Dara’s pregnancy journey at virginiazoo.org/daras-pregnancy.