BERLIN – A paternity test on a baby orangutan has come back with a surprising result.

Basel Zoo in northwestern Switzerland said Thursday the test showed 5-month-old Padma wasn’t fathered by the male in her enclosure.

Keepers routinely take DNA samples from newborn orangutans because the endangered great apes are part of a breeding program.

Researchers at Basel University’s forensic laboratory compared Padma’s DNA to that of Budi, a 14-year-old male living in the same enclosure as the baby’s mother, Maja.

They found it didn’t match Budi’s DNA. Instead, it matched 18-year-old orangutan Vendel, who lives in the next enclosure.

It appears that for Maja and Vendel, the dominant male at Basel Zoo, the dividing fence was no obstacle to some monkey business.

Zoo Basel zoo keepers routinely take DNA samples from female orangutan Maya.


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.