This winter break, I got the chance to visit the LA zoo and see the seven Bornean orangutans who live there in the “Red Ape Rainforest”. Bruno, a large male, has clearly visible cheek pouches and spent some time sunbathing. I did not get to see Minyak (the other male) and Berani (a female about my age) because they were inside, but I did see Eloise, a female with cerebral palsy, Rosie, her daughter, and Kalim, Rosie’s half-sister. Perhaps most special of all was when Elka, Kalim’s young daughter, used a tool- in this case, a stick- to bat at a yummy-looking plant outside the habitat. Although Elka didn’t manage to get it down, she showed the intelligence of her species in an incredible moment that we managed to capture on video.
When I observed Eloise, she was sitting still, eating and watching people through the glass. Born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, Eloise was lucky to have been rescued by zoo keepers.
Thanks for helping save the rainforest!
~The Orangutan Gang
For more information on how Eloise was educated, see this article.