Cameron Park Zoo is celebrating Razak’s first birthday with a formula drive for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

Cameron Park Zoo photo

Cameron Park Zoo is celebrating the first birthday of its baby orangutan, Razak, with a feeding formula drive to help orphaned baby orangutans.

Mei and Kerajaan, or KJ, welcomed their new baby boy Jan. 12.

Zookeepers wanted to celebrate Razak’s life with a fundraiser for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation after finding out firsthand what it takes to feed a baby orangutan formula for an extended period of time, said Terri Cox, the zoo’s curator of exhibits and programs.

“We had to hand feed him for almost eight months,” Cox said. “We know how much formula you go through.”

Zookeepers separated Razak from Mei when he was about 3 weeks old because Mei had started pulling him off her body and behaving abnormally around him, Cox said at the time. It is crucial for baby orangutans to cling to their mothers in order to develop the muscles necessary for a life in the trees, she said.

A baby orangutan drinks an average of three bottles of formula per day, and there are 23 babies housed at the survival foundation, according to information provided by the zoo. Five dollars is enough for three bottles of formula.

The fundraiser will continue through Jan. 12. After the forumula drive, the zoo will host a birthday party for Razak that will be open to the public.

At 11 a.m. Jan. 13, visitors can enjoy cake and watch Razak and the other orangutans celebrate with a Lego-themed party.

Giant Lego building blocks are Razak’s favorite toys, Cox said.

“All the orangutans love Legos,” she said.

Zookeepers will also announce how much the forumula drive brought in for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. Everyone who contributes to the fundraiser will have their name entered to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the orangutan facility.

“We have lots of baby fun going on at the zoo right now,” Cox said.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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