A Sumatran orangutan born last fall at the San Diego Zoo is now a little more than 8 months old and has begun the switch to solid foods, animal keepers said Monday.

The playful youngster, named Aisha, was born Oct. 25. Zoo officials said that although she continues to nurse, her emerging teeth are leading her to experiment with solid foods like apples, mangos and bananas.

In addition to her nine teeth, Aisha is continuing to grow and develop.

She climbs and plays in the outdoor habitat, but never ventures more than 10 feet from her mother, Indah, according to zoo animal care staff.

Orangutans typically stay with their mothers until they’re about 8 years old, the longest childhood of the great apes. They live in tropical and swamp forests on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

The Sumatran orangutan is considered critically endangered, with an estimate of less than 7,000 remaining in the wild. Their population has declined drastically in recent years as a result of over-harvesting of timber, human encroachment and habitat conversion to palm oil plantations.

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.

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