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Maury Povich reveals paternity results to zoo orangutan

Host declares: ‘Berani, you are the father!’

By AMY BETH HANSON, Associated Press
Published: December 29, 2023, 6:00am
3 Photos
Sumatran orangutan Eirina and her baby Siska nap at the Denver Zoo.
Sumatran orangutan Eirina and her baby Siska nap at the Denver Zoo. (Denver Zoo) Photo Gallery

Initially unsure of which orangutan was the father of a new baby primate, the Denver Zoo decided to have a little fun with the results and turned to the paternity announcement guru himself: former daytime talk show host Maury Povich.

Just as he would do on his long-running show, Povich pulled the purported DNA results for 4-month-old Siska out of an envelope and declared: “Berani, you are the father!”

The zoo posted the video on social media this week.

Siska, a female who was born on Aug. 27, is the first baby for Eirina, a 15-year-old Sumatran orangutan, who came to the Denver Zoo from Germany’s Dortmund Zoo in 2016.

Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with a rapidly declining wild population due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and the black-market pet trade, the zoo said in announcing Siska’s birth.

Siska’s father remained a mystery because the zoo’s animal care team had to wait a few months before Eirina was comfortable allowing them to get close enough to get a hair sample from Siska to compare her DNA against 30-year-old Berani and 16-year-old Jaya.

“When I heard we received the results, the first thing that popped into my mind was, ‘Berani, you ARE the father!’ ” Jake Kubié, the zoo’s director of communications, said in an email Thursday.

“That led me to do a little light online stalking to track down (Povich’s) former executive producer, who was kind enough to connect me with his executive assistant,” Kubié said.

Kubié emailed the assistant, asking if it might be possible to have “Maury reveal the paternity results as only he can.”

“Everyone was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic about the idea, and I can’t express enough gratitude to Maury for dedicating a bit of his time and energy to supporting Denver Zoo — especially on such a big day for him personally,” Kubié said.

Povich, 84, taped his announcement Saturday before attending the Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles where he received a Lifetime Achievement Honor presented by his wife, journalist Connie Chung.

“As much as I’d like to think he dressed in a tux for our announcement, it was actually for his big moment at the Emmys,” Kubié said.