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Va. Zoo Announces Pregnancy of Critically Endangered Orangutan

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Image courtesy of The Virginia Zoo Image courtesy of The Virginia Zoo

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Zoo has announced that one of its critically endangered Bornean orangutans is pregnant.

The zoo in Norfolk said on its website Wednesday that 18-year-old Dara is expected to have the baby this summer.

Virginia Zoo Executive Director Greg Bockheim said the zoo is playing a vital role in the species' future.

The animals are native to the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Their numbers have declined more than 50 percent because of poaching and habitat loss.

They also have one of the slowest reproductive rates of all mammals. Bockheim said the birth is "tremendously significant."

Zoo Keepers observed breeding behavior between Dara and 14-year-old male Solaris last fall. Pregnancies usually last about 245 days. She's expected to have the baby in mid-June or early July.

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