Denver Zoo officials weren’t sure who fathered a baby orangutan. They asked Maury Povich to reveal the paternity test results – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) — Five words from famed daytime talk show host Maury Povich helped Denver Zoo officials solve the monthslong mystery of which orangutan fathered baby girl Siska: “Berani, you are the father!”
When the pregnancy of Sumatran orangutan Eirina, Siska’s mother, was confirmed last spring, zoo officials weren’t sure who the dad was, according to Denver Zoo’s integrated communications director, Jake Kubié.
They knew there were two possibilities: either 16-year-old Jaya, an orangutan who was moved to the Denver Zoo as a mate for Eirina in 2019; or 30-year-old Berani.
“After Siska was born on August 27, 2023, our Animal Care and Health teams were very careful to not interfere with Eirina and Siska’s bonding time and had to wait for a few months before they were able to get a hair sample from Siska so they could compare her DNA to samples from Berani and Jaya,” Kubié told CNN in an email.
He said the zoo’s animal care specialists had previously observed courtship and mating activity between Eirina and Berani, both members of a critically endangered species.
About 9,200 orangutans remain in the wild, according to the Denver Zoo. Jaya was brought to the zoo as part of its Sumatran Orangutan Species Survival Plan.
A DNA test finally revealed the results, and Kubié said only one person came to mind for making the big announcement: The longest-running daytime talk show host in television history.
The 84-year-old former host has become known as the king of paternity test results after the revelations became common segments of his show, “Maury,” which ended in 2022 after 31 seasons.
“That led me to think, ‘I wonder if Maury would actually help with our announcement?’” Kubié said.
He contacted Povich’s former executive producer, who put the zoo in touch with Povich’s executive assistant, according to Kubié.
Kubié says he wrote in an initial email to Povich’s team, “‘This might be an unorthodox idea – or maybe you get hit up for this stuff all the time – but I was wondering if you would be open to helping us out by having Maury reveal the paternity results as only he can.’”
Povich’s assistant confirmed the former talk show host was game to help make the big announcement.
The zoo received the video of Povich doing the big reveal on December 15 right before he accepted a special honor later that evening, Kubié said.
“Fresh off receiving the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Honor, Maury Povich is here to help us announce the paternity results for Siska, our 4-month-old Sumatran orangutan!” the Denver Zoo posted with a video on X on December 19, featuring Povich wearing a tuxedo while holding a manila envelope.
“When it comes to the orangutan, 4-month-old Siska, Berani, you are the father!” Povich announced in the clip, which then shows the zoo’s team cheering at the news.
“Maury and his team were wonderful to work with and we can’t express enough gratitude to him for sharing some of his time and energy to support us, especially on such an important day for him personally,” Kubié said.
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