Getting To Know Them Better

Cahaya’s arrival came as a shock and surprise to everyone at the sanctuary. For 27 years, birth control methods had been successfully implemented for all of the sanctuary residents with no “b/c failures”… until February 2020.

Cahaya’s mother Sunshine had been on birth control since her arrival here in 2017, so there was no reason to believe she was pregnant. However, one morning in February, our caregivers discovered a tiny bit of orange fluff climbing up Sunshine’s chest.

Before Sunshine came to our sanctuary, she gave birth to three previous infants at a breeding compound, but they were each taken from her, and she never had the opportunity to raise them.  Sunshine is doing a wonderful job of raising her infant, watchfully allowing the others in her group (Archie and Keagan) to interact with the baby.

The father, 15-year-old Archie, often still acts like a juvenile himself and in those first weeks, he could barely contain his desire to touch the baby and kiss her. He was completely fascinated with little Cahaya and gentle in his approach. Sunshine now allows Archie to hold Cahaya and play with her, and Archie’s older sister Keagan is a wonderful aunt to the infant.

At over a year old now, Cahaya has become more adventurous moving away from her mother to climb to the highest points in her 40-foot-tall habitat. She often hangs by one foot (upside down) giving the staff heart stops… but Cahaya is after all an orangutan and well-adapted to moving around in treetop heights!

Our staff chose the name Cahaya, which in Malay and Indonesian means “light”, “radiant” and “shine” – an appropriate name for Sunshine’s offspring.  This birth was not in our plan or mission, but when we look at this precious infant, we’re overwhelmed with happiness and joy for Sunshine that she is finally able to raise her own infant.

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Interesting Facts

  • She is described as lovable, curious, and adorable.


Caring for one of our apes costs over $30,000 a year. By symbolically adopting the ape of your choice, you are helping ensure your orangutan or chimpanzee's health, safety, and well-being.

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In addition to cash donations, the Center for Great Apes is always in need of food, enrichment items, and supplies. We welcome gifts of all kinds.


Want to know what we need? We have a list of things we would like to have.

Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, Inc. dba Center for Great Apes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FEID 65-0444725.

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