Maury Povich helps Denver Zoo announce the paternity of baby orangutan: ‘You are the father!’

December 22, 2023

When the Denver Zoo was ready to announce the paternity of a four-month-old baby Sumatran orangutan, they called in a special guest: Maury Povich, reports People.

Above, retired talk show host Maury Povich does the honors. (Photo source: Denver Zoo)

, tells People that the retired TV host—who famously resolved countless paternity disputes on his daytime talk show—was the first person who came to mind for the job.

“Apparently I was a bigger Maury Povich fan than I thought, and his voice just popped into my head,” Kubié says. “I thought maybe he’d be open to doing this for us.”

After what he describes as “a little light online stalking,” Kubié found Povich’s executive producer, who connected him with his executive assistant.

As it turned out, Povich loved the idea. On Tuesday, December 19, the zoo shared a video of the host, dressed in a tuxedo, revealing the father of Siska, a four-month-old Sumatran orangutan.

“Fresh off receiving the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Honor, Maury Povich is here to help us announce the paternity results for Siska,” the caption on the zoo’s X post begins. “Is Siska’s father 30-year-old Berani or 16-year-old Jaya?”

“Berani, you are the father!” Povich declares in the video, before it cuts to applause from the zoo’s staff.

Kubié says Siska’s birth in August was “a huge deal,” as Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species, with estimates putting the global population between 10,000 and 13,000.

Siska’s mother, Eirina, was matched up with two potential mates: Berani, who had lived at the zoo for a long time and had been a father before, and Jaya, who was brought into the zoo a few years ago as part of a Species Survival Plan that the Denver Zoo works on in conjunction with other accredited zoos.

Eirina spent time with each male and there was “some courtship and mating activity” with both, Kubié says. “Both of them were definitely options to be the father, but we weren’t sure which one.”

The zoo needed DNA from hair follicles for Siska, Berani, and Jaya — but building trust with Eirina so she would bring her newborn close enough for the animal care staff to obtain the sample took a few months, hence the anticipation.

Kubié says Siska is still bonding with her mom, adding that she’s “absolutely adorable” and a “huge hit” with the zoo’s visitors.

He says it was especially fun to see people’s response to the video on social media, given that some of the zoo’s followers even predicted it would be Povich making the reveal after the zoo teased Siska’s DNA results Monday.

“People were like, ‘I hope you get Maury for this,’” he says. “And a few people suggested maybe a Maury impersonator. And I’m sitting there like, ‘You just wait, it’s going to be great.’”

“We have a lot of big fans of our orangutan family here,” he adds. “So there’s equal excitement for finding out who the father was and that Maury did this for us.”

Research contact: @people