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Orangutan brings pregnant woman to tears by 'kissing' her stomach at zoo

The expectant mother says she felt a "real connection" with the orangutan.
/ Source: TODAY

A simple "kiss" from an orangutan left a pregnant woman smiling through tears after a tender encounter at her local zoo.

Morgain Cole Abbott, 27, was at the Colchester Zoo in Essex, England, last month when an orangutan named Rajang noticed her baby bump and gave it a tender smooch from the other side of the glass in his enclosure.

"The moment was absolutely amazing,'' Abbott told TODAY. "I'd heard Rajang likes pregnant bellies, but I never imagined he'd notice mine. He really zoned in on me, and I felt like we had a real connection.

"It really shows how intelligent and knowing these incredible creatures are. It made me so emotional as I honestly feel humans and animals can have a connection, and I felt I could have stayed there with him all day."

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Abbott was there with her partner, Liam, who shot the video of the sweet moment. The two also have a 1-year-old son, William, and are expecting a girl in March.

Rajang, a 48-year-old orangutan who is half Bornean and half Sumatran, also "kissed" the pregnant belly of a woman in July 2015 and then again on a different expectant mother in September of last year.

"Orangutan babies stay with their mothers in the wild for 10 years and have a really intense bond, and as Rajang was hand-reared (because his mother passed away when he was a baby), I really believe he understands the connection between a human mother and baby,'' Abbott said.

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Abbott is encouraging everyone who has enjoyed the video to donate to the Orangutan Foundation, a U.K. charity that works to protect threatened orangutan populations in Borneo and Sumatra. She also looks to support Colchester Zoo, which puts the money raised from visitors into conservation, an animal sanctuary in Africa and breeding programs.

"I'm hoping this at least helps bring the orangutan plight to people's minds so they think twice about purchasing non-sustainable palm oil, as unfortunately orangutan's habitats are being destroyed,'' she said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.