Pets & Animals

Zoo plans baby shower for pregnant orangutans (and they're registered at Target)

A pregnant orangutan at a Texas zoo has a baby registry at Target that includes children's books, Simon & Garfunkel's greatest hits and a DVD of the movie "Zootopia."

The Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is throwing a baby shower on Dec. 18 for orangutans Mei and KJ, with the registry items being used for "enrichment" purposes as 18-year-old Mei enters the final part of her pregnancy with her second baby.

"The orangutans love to look at pictures and enjoy watching movies and videos of themselves,'' Cameron Park Zoo public relations manager Duane McGregor told TODAY. "They also enjoy listening to music as do the other animals. The keepers use the baby shampoo to do bubble baths for the orangutans, and the baby shampoo doesn’t sting their eyes."

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The 178 registry gifts, which also include finger paint, a fragrance by Britney Spears and Adele's "25" album, are all less than $25.

Most of the items will be used to mentally and physically stimulate the animals, McGregor said.

"When they look at the books, a lot of times the keepers will put sunflower seeds or other treats between the pages and they will turn the pages not only to look at the pictures, also to look for their treats,'' McGregor said. "The games and musical toys are used to stimulate their minds and is also an exercise."

The orangutans are the only animals at the zoo to get a baby shower. It was the keepers' idea to throw one.

"They are so human-like, our guests feel close to them,'' McGregor said.

Paints, in particular, are popular. In fact, several orangutans and other animals have managed to paint different items, even using brushes in some cases, the zoo said.

More than 20 gifts have already been fulfilled, including a CD of Dolly Parton's "Pure & Simple" album.

The presents go to benefit Mei and KJ as well as other animals in the zoo.

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The parents-to-be will open their gifts with the public at the orangutan exhibit.

Mei is expected to have the baby sometime in late January and everything looks to be on track after an ultrasound on Sunday.

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