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Baby Ape Left for Dead Bouncing Back in Indonesia

A baby orangutan, found abandoned and almost dead, has made a swift recovery at a rescue center.

A baby orangutan found abandoned and almost dead has made a swift recovery at an Indonesian rescue center, and has been filmed playing happily with another young ape.

Gito was discovered dumped in a cardboard box in August under the baking sun on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, with rescuers initially believing the primate was dead due to his "mummified" appearance.

A team from International Animal Rescue (IAR) picked up the endangered Bornean orangutan, who had been kept as a pet by a local village head, and rushed him to their center.

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Gito - who is less than a year old - was suffering from multiple ailments but has recovered strongly, and was recently released from quarantine and introduced to another male baby orangutan, Asoka.

New footage released by IAR showed their first encounter (video below), with the apes appearing wary when initially introduced at the orangutan rehabilitation center on Borneo.

However, it was not long before the pair were playing happily together on a wooden climbing frame.

Asoka was also rescued on Borneo several months ago after a villager found him abandoned in the jungle and handed the ape over to IAR, although he was in a far better condition than Gito.

click to play video

Gito is doing much better than when he was found suffering from dehydration, malnutrition and a skin infection, but his caregivers warn there is a long road ahead.

IAR programme director for Indonesia, Karmele Llano Sanchez, said Gito would still need to take part in "jungle school" - a scheme designed to prepare orangutans for life in the wild - before he could be released.

"It's going to take five to seven years before he is ready to be released into the wild," she told AFP.

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Bornean orangutans are classified as endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are protected under Indonesian law.

But their jungle habitats are being destroyed by the rapid expansion of palm oil and pulp and paper plantations, while locals view the apes as pests and sometimes target them.

Hundreds of Bornean primates were also rescued last year as massive, smog-belching forest fires ravaged the island. The fires, started to clear land for plantations, are an annual occurrence, but in 2015 were the worst for some years.

On January 7, this shaggy little bundle of joy was delivered by Caesarean section at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. Her mom is a 27-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Mariska, from the

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

in Saint Paul, Minn. We thought you'd enjoy having the baby girl brought to your attention.

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It was mother Mariska's second required C-section, both of which were performed at the university's medical center. "C-sections are very rare in that there are only about a dozen recorded within the International Orangutan Studbook that has tracked more than 1,200 births in captivity throughout history," said Como Zoo's primate keeper Megan Elder.

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The new arrival weighed in at a spry 3.45 pounds.

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She and her mom certainly drew a crowd. The obstetrical team boasted more than a dozen professionals -- from the disciplines of human and animal neonatal intensive care, human maternal-fetal medicine, veterinary surgery, veterinary anesthesiology, and nutrition.

Young Apes Develop Empathy Like Human Kids

The newborn should be proud. Her mother Mariska is considered one of the most genetically valuable female Sumatran orangutans in North America and was recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Orangutan Species Survival Plan.

Why Monkeys and Apes Have Colorful Faces

The little girl of the hour was bottle fed by Como Zoo staff while her mom was recovering from the surgery. She and Mariska would soon be reunited at Como Zoo.

Did Cavities Kill Earth's Largest Ape?

About 200 orangutans are currently on exhibit in zoos throughout the U.S., Como Zoo notes. In the wild, they're found primarily in Sumatra and Borneo. Orangutan populations have tumbled downward and the species is under the threat of extinction. Commercial logging, agriculture, hunting and poaching all have contributed to the animal's decline. So it's always happy news when a baby gives a small ray of hope to a species in trouble.