Orangutan gives birth after negative pregnancy test, inseparable from her baby

PEOPLE – This baby knows how to make an entrance! The Chester Zoo recently welcomed a critically endangered Bornean orangutan baby, a joyous and somewhat shocking event.

The new arrival took keepers at the English zoo by surprise because the baby’s mom, Leia, took a pregnancy test and received negative results just months before the birth. According to the Chester Zoo, a typical orangutan pregnancy lasts about eight and a half months, so the results of the test should’ve come back positive.

“The pregnancy tests we had carried out on Leia in the months prior to the birth had actually returned negative results. It was therefore a wonderful surprise to arrive one morning to see her protectively cradling a beautiful new arrival,” Primate Keeper Chris Yarwood at the zoo said in a statement.

Even though the zoo wasn’t fully prepared for the birth, the baby’s arrival on June 18 went smoothly. The zoo said the little orangutan is “bright and alert”, and feeding well.

Leia took to her new baby instantly and is very protective of her child. The new mom carries her kid everywhere and is careful about showing off the adorable baby too much. Keepers were only recently able to take a few photos of Leia and her unnamed baby together.

“Leia enjoys spending lots of time alone with her baby and has so far been quite shy about showing it off. She always keeps it really close to her and so we’ve not yet been able to clearly determine what the gender of the infant is,” Yarwood shared, adding that this is Leia’s second baby and that the primate was a “fab” mom the first time too.

The surprise appearance of this baby orangutan is a welcomed event for animal lovers beyond the zoo. Bornean orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Leia, the orangutan, holds her baby. PHOTO: CHESTER ZOO