Cahaya’s arrival came as a surprise to all of us at the Center. In our 27 year history we have successfully implemented birth control methods for all of our sanctuary residents with no “birth control failures” until now. Her mother Sunshine has been on birth control since her arrival in 2017 so we had no reason to believe she was pregnant. However, one morning in February just minutes after her birth our caregivers discovered a tiny bit of orange fluff climbing up Sunshine’s chest.
Our staff voted on the name Cahaya, which in Indonesian means “light”, “radiant” and “shine”. We thought this an appropriate name for Sunshine’s offspring.
Although reproducing more infants is definitely not a sanctuary ethic or activity, this little female will have all the love and care that each of our other great ape residents receive at the Center. Thankfully, Sunshine is being a loving and caring mother. “Sunny” (as we call her) gave birth to three previous infants at a breeding compound, but they were each taken from her, and she never raised them.
Sunny is doing a very good job raising her infant, and she watchfully allows the others in her group to interact with the baby.
The father, 15-year-old Archie, still acts like a juvenile himself and can barely contain his desire to touch the baby and kiss her. He is completely fascinated with little Cahaya and gentle in his approach. Sunshine lets Archie touch Cahaya, but not yet hold or carry her. Archie’s older sister Keagan (17 years) is a wonderful aunt to the infant, and Sunny allows Keagan more privileges and interactions than she does Archie.
This birth was not in our plan or mission… but when we look at this precious infant, it’s hard not to feel happiness and joy for Sunshine that she will finally be able to raise her own infant.