Zoo Baffled After Baby Orangutan’s Weird Paternity Test Result

February 1, 2019

A zoo in Switzerland experienced its own Maury moment when the results of a baby orangutan’s paternity test revealed the mother and father lived in different enclosures.


Folks at the Basel Zoo assumed that 5-month-old orangutan Padma was the offspring of 14-year-old Budi, the only male in her enclosure. The results of the test showed that an orangutan named Vendel from the adjacent enclosure was the father. It turns out Vendel and Padma’s mom, Maja, would meet up and mate through the fence that separates their enclosures.

Zoo officials say that Vendel is the dominant male orangutan at the zoo and the only one with cheek pads, which female orangutans tend to seek out when they’re in heat.