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Critically Endangered Sumatran Orangutan Born at the San Diego Zoo; America Online Members across the Country Join Forces to Name the Infant.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers

DULLES, Va. & SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 10, 2004

After several months of anxious anticipation, great ape keepers at the San Diego Zoo were thrilled to witness the birth of a critically endangered Sumatran orangutan on March 5. The mother and infant made their public debut today in the Zoo's newest habitat "Absolutely Apes."

The apparently healthy male infant is being cuddled, nursed and gingerly cared for by his 17-year-old, first-time mom Indah.

"This birth is very significant for the San Diego Zoo and the critically endangered Sumatran orangutan population," said Lead Animal Keeper Kim Livingstone. "We were hoping that Indah would get pregnant, and we're very excited to now have a healthy male newborn."

Indah had the baby late in the afternoon in her off-exhibit bedroom. For the past several days keepers have kept a close eye on the duo to make sure the newborn is healthy, nursing and being cared for properly. Indah and her infant made their public debut today (March 9) in the 8,400 square-foot they share with several other apes. People worldwide can watch the pair via "Ape Cam" on the Zoo's Web site www.sandiegozoo.org daily from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. PT.

The next major milestone for the special infant is finding a perfect name. The San Diego Zoo has teamed up with America Online to create a virtual naming ceremony that gives AOL members across the country the exclusive opportunity to name the baby orangutan. Starting today, AOL members can go to Keyword: What's New @ the Zoo and choose among five different Sumatran names that reflect the baby orangutan's indigenous homeland and a little bit about his personality. The names are Bahasa in origin - the official language of Sumatra.

"We are thrilled to expand AOL's popular online naming ceremony through our new relationship with the San Diego Zoo," said Tina Sharkey, Senior Vice President, Life Management and Community. "In the past, more than 700,000 AOL members have voted in our exclusive virtual naming ceremonies for new baby animals, and we know that this adorable baby orangutan will receive a tremendous response. Our members love animals and the Zoo, and this is a truly unique and valuable opportunity for them to connect with this adorable new baby and learn more about the endangered orangutan."

The names AOL members can choose from include:

Pasti - to be certain or definite.

Suka -- to be fond of.

Merduka -- independent and free.

Gembria -- to be glad and cheerful.

Cinta -- love and affection.

The exclusive online naming ceremony is part of "What's New @ the Zoo," a programming area on AOL's Research & Learn Channel that brings the delight and enjoyment of the Zoo directly to AOL members. In addition to playing a role in naming the new baby ape, members can access photos, quick facts and statistics to learn more about orangutans. Most recently, "What's New @ the Zoo" feature allowed more than 300,000 AOL members to choose names for Felix & Cleo, the brother-sister pair of mountain lion cubs at the Queens Zoo in New York City.

Located at AOL Keyword: What's New @ the Zoo, the baby orangutan naming ceremony, which kicks off today, will run through March 23. The most popular name will be announced March 24.

America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner Inc. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.

The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is operated by the not-for-profit Zoological Society of San Diego. The Zoological Society, dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe. The Zoological Society also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park (more than half of which has been set aside as protected native species habitat) and the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species (CRES), and is working to establish field stations in five key ecological areas worldwide.

Video Includes:

Footage of baby orangutan with mother.

Interview with Kim Livingstone, lead animal keeper, San Diego Zoo.
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 10, 2004
Words:683
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