Sometimes we all need a little help with breastfeeding. New Mum Gemma Copeland, probably wasn’t expecting that support to come from an orangutan.

When Gemma sat down to breastfeed her baby at Schoenbrunn Zoo in Vienna, something incredible happened. And luckily for us, her partner captured it all on camera. Watch the video below…

‘Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears,” Gemma wrote in a post on her Facebook page.

Gemma was on a mini-break with her partner and son, when the stopped by the orangutan enclose at the end of the day.

“I went to the window for a closer look and sat down by the window so my lb (little baby) could see the orangutan who was roughly 5/6ft away. She then got up, carried a piece of cloth to the window and sat down with me. She looked directly into my eyes then placed her hand up as if to touch my son I was in awe of this beautiful creature already.”

Gemma decided to take advantage of the quiet space to feed her little one. What happened next is truly remarkable.

Breastfeeding Orangutan
The Orangutan kept Gemma company and watched over her as she was breastfeeding. Photo: Gemma Copeland / Facebook

My son wanted feeding and as it was quiet I fed him whilst I sat there, the way the orangutan reacted took my breath away she kept looking at me, then my son then back again. She sat with me for approximately half an hour, kept stroking the glass and lay down next to me as if to support and protect me.

“I had to share this because my mind was blown, we may be a species apart but breastfeeding connected us today in a once in a lifetime moment that will stay with me forever,” Gemma says.

The moment changed her

Gemma says her experience has inspired her to raise money for the Borneo Orangutan Rescue at International Animal Rescue. The charity provides a sanctuary and rehabilitation service for baby orangutans.


Orangutans are listed as a critically endangered species. Their survival is threatened by deforestation of their rainforest home, primarily for palm oil production.

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Author

Alison Godfrey has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years. She loves coffee, wine, skiing and spending time with her husband, two children and their dog. But she's still not sure about the cat. He's pretty cranky.

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