Here’s what else to expect when your orangutan is expecting.
The female orangutan will experience appetite changes, a heightened sense of smell and decreased patience with her mate, who, as she often points out, still acts like a sub-adult male who hasn’t even developed his flanges. Even so, it’s an exciting time for the breeding pair. Usually, all anyone wants to talk about is the panda house and its perfect little panda family. But finally, it’s all about the orangutans.
The first trimester is a crucial time in an orangutan fetus’s cognitive development. To ensure optimal brain size and intellectual capacity, the female orangutan must follow a strict, nutrient-rich diet, stop eating nigiri from her local seal tank and immediately get her offspring on the wait list for Sidwell.
In the third month, the breeding pair will begin drafting a birth plan, considering epidurals, playlists and whether to opt for a home birth. (Cons include increased health risks to both mother and baby. Pros include better photos and YOLO.) By Week 12, the female orangutan has gained approximately five pounds; the male orangutan has gained nine.
Until now, the pregnancy has been known only to the breeding pair, the zookeepers and the doula they read about on Goop (who, long story, is actually a horse). In the fourth month, the breeding pair can finally announce the good news on social media. Expect the pair to post a photo featuring a baby bump and a chalkboard displaying the words: “New exhibit expected Fall 2016.” (The zookeepers nixed “Orange is the new panda.”) Visitors should be aware that failing to click “like” will be perceived as hostile behavior.
The orangutan habitat will be empty this month while the breeding pair babymoons in one of those wet, tropical climates they prefer. The female deserves a rest because, as you can read on the new “fun fact” plaque outside their habitat, orangutans nurse their young for six years. Obviously, the breeding pair understands that how you nurture your offspring is completely a personal decision, and if pandas think eight months is enough to provide adequate nutrition and sufficient immunoglobulins to protect against childhood’s deadliest diseases, that’s totally up to them. (But, not for nothing, there are only, like, 2,000 of them left.)
The baby’s gender is now discernible on a routine ultrasound. This clears the way for a crucial event in the gestational period known as the gender reveal. Prior to the pregnancy, the breeding pair was always quick to remind friends that gender is a construct, but they will abandon this position shortly after registering for an $839 UPPAbaby stroller. Visitors should be advised that the Endangered Species Act prohibits purchasing orangutans a drop-side crib.
The breeding pair selects a name for their baby and registers a corresponding Gmail account and Twitter handle. (They aren’t interested in hearing that it’s also the name of your psycho boss, crazy ex or least favorite zookeeper.) The female will assume a defensive posture while interviewing nannies, standing down only after identifying a candidate who holds a master’s degree or higher in early primate education and will not be perceived as a potential mate by the male orangutan.
Although traditionally, male orangutans made no parental investment in their offspring, remember that this is 2016, and Kyle shares 97 percent of his DNA with sensitive human fathers like Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Trudeau. As the female orangutan nears her due date, Kyle will control his urge to seek new sexual consortships, putting his energies and opposable thumbs to use on DIY nursery projects instead.
The breeding pair has packed their go-bags and hired the same night nurse the celebrity orangutan from “Dunston Checks In ” used. Once the female goes into labor, the birth plan indicates that she will handle the pushing while the male drafts a birth announcement to send to Politico reporter Mike Allen. Unlike a certain mommy who lives in the panda house and was pumped full of drugs for her delivery, the female orangutan will be fully present during the birthing process and alert enough to Snapchat the consumption of the placenta, something orangutans have been doing since before it was even a thing.