Who’s Your Daddy? Paternity Test Reveals Monkey Business at Zoo

Zoo keepers take DNA samples from female orangutan cub Padma to determine her paternity Thursday at the Basel Zoo. Photo: Zoo Basel via AP
Zoo keepers take DNA samples from female orangutan cub Padma to determine her paternity Thursday at the Basel Zoo. Photo: Zoo Basel via AP

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.