Introducing Kemala!

Thanks to the Public’s Contributions, Como Zoo’s Baby Orangutan Now Has A Name

In a naming ceremony held today, Como Zoo’s baby Sumatran orangutan, born on January 7, 2015, was dubbed Kemala. The name came as a result of a month long voting contest that ended at noon today. Kemala (pronounced Key-mala) means magic stone in the bahasa Indonesia language.

Como Zoo had selected three names for the baby, Aanjay, Cinta, and Kemala. The public was invited to vote for the name they liked best using their pennies. The name with the most votes, in this case most pennies, was chosen as the baby’s name. Kemala was the clear choice.  The contest in total raised nearly $2,000.

Local businessman Johannes Marliem also presented a check for $10,000 to Como Friends, the non-profit partner of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, to offset the cost of medical and delivery costs for baby Kemala and her mother Markisa. The preservation of the little red haired orangutan is crucial to Indonesian-born Johannes Marliem. The species is native to Indonesia and Marliem has seen first-hand the critical need to financially support the work that is being done in Minnesota, and around the world, to preserve this beautiful animal.

This is mom Markisa’s second birth via Caesarean section. The newborn was delivered at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Micky Trent, DVM, Veterinary Medical Center Surgeon and lead veterinarian for Como Zoo, with the consultation of an extensive pre-appointed medical team comprised of human obstetricians, neonatologists, and veterinary anesthesiologists.

C-sections are very rare in that there are only about a dozen recorded within the International Orangutan Studbook that has tracked more than 1,200 births in captivity throughout history.

According to, Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered and Bornean orangutans are listed as endangered. Both of these species of orangutans could be extinct within 10 to 20 years. Work to help preserve this species is particularly critical right now.

Como partnering with Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and asked visitors to bring in new, unused requested items that in-turn will be donated to the Crisis Nursery. The Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery is a 501(c)3 organization that works to end child abuse and neglect and create strong, healthy families through a 24 hour crisis helpline, crisis counseling, overnight residential child care, home visiting, and parent education and support groups. Last year the Crisis Nursery answered 4,500 crisis calls and sheltered 2,300 children.



Como Park Zoo and Conservatory Background

For over 100 years, Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota has charmed, educated and entertained millions of children and adults while fostering an appreciation of the natural world. The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is open 365 days; 10am-6pm from April 1-September 30 and 10am-4pm from October 1-March 31. Admission to both the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is always free and a voluntary donation is appreciated. For more information, visit


Como Friends

Como Friends inspires community generosity to advance Como Park Zoo & Conservatory as a destination where people from all walks of life can gather, learn and enjoy the natural world. In the last decade, Como Friends has contributed over $35 million for capital improvements, program investments and endowment to Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.