Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo’s Orangutans

The Fort Wayne Zoo has three orangutans. The orangutan exhibit at the FWCZ is pretty innovative. It is modeled after the the rainforest, the orangutan’s natural habitat. The viewing window of the exhibit is placed vertically halfway on the front wall. Through it you can see lots of trees scattered around the exhibit. The floor is normally covered with water to discourage the orangutans from going down there. This is to encourage the natural behavior of orangutans spending the majority of their time in trees. The keepers place blankets and other materials in the exhibit so the orangutans can make nests to sleep on at night.


Credit: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo:

Tengku is the only male at the FWCZ. He is a Sumatran orangutan who was born at Zoo Atlanta on July 3, 1986. He came to FWCZ in April of 1995. His favorite enrichment item is anything dealing with food. When I was at the zoo, I saw Tengku carrying around a blanket in the tree tops. Tengku had one baby with another Sumatran orangutan named Sayang. Tengku was the lucky one that got to pick the name of the baby. Presented with two options, Tengku used a paint brush to pick the name Dumadi. Sayang unfortunately died though soon after labor and Dumadi was transferred to Zoo Atlanta to be reared by a foster mother.


Credit: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo:

Melati is a hybrid orangutan. She was born on November 19, 1984 at the Yerkeys Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She moved to the FWCZ in April of 1995. Her favorite enrichment item is ice treats, especially on a hot day. 🙂 She is not on breeding recommendation because she is a hybrid. It is important for the conservation of a species to maintain genetic diversity by only breeding within a species.


Credit: Columbus Zoo: Katrina McCauley/Jane McEvoy:

Tara is the newest orangutan at the FWCZ. She was brought here from the Columbus Zoo to be a mate for Tengku. She is a Sumatran orangutan and was born at the Rio Grande Zoo on April 1, 1995. Her favorite enrichment item is not the PVC feeder, but the end cap. She likes to eat food from it and play with it. She is outgoing and playful.



Kansas City Zoo Orangutans

In early May, I got to visit the Kansas City Zoo. I got a personal tour from one of my friends, a zookeeper in the Discovery section. It was unfortunately a rainy, cold day so a lot of the animals were not outside. However I got to see the animals I mainly wanted to see, the orangutans. Thanks to their inside enclosure. Three orangutans were hanging out by the window, checking me out as I checked them out. The baby especially was adorable. Kali, who shares my name, followed me along the glass and made funny faces. She was too adorable. There are 6 orangutans at the KCZ, split into two groups: Berani and TK; Rufus, Jill, Josie, and Kalijon.


Photo: Orangutan

Rufus is a Bornean orangutan who was born at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on October 8, 1988. He was at the Hogle Zoo for a bit before being transferred to the KCZ in May 2003. He is Jill’s partner. When I visited, he was hanging out on the fire hose swing. Kali came and interacted with him a bit, but went back to the window.




Jill is a Bornean orangutan who was born at the Los Angeles Zoo on May 25, 1976. She was transferred to the KSZ in October of 1988. Jill is Josie’s mother and Kali’s surrogate mother. After her partner died, Jill was paired with Rufus for companionship. While pregnant with Josie, Jill was monitored by scientists.  Her’s was the first pregnancy to be followed completely through. This allowed the scientists to learn more about orangutans and potentially about their behavior in the wild. While I was at the KCZ, Jill was hanging out by the window and interacted with Kali. Jill was living in the stall next to Kali as she was being hand reared by the keepers. She was very attentive too, telling the keepers when Kali needed to be cared for.


Josie is a Bornean orangutan and was born on June 8, 2002 at the Kansas City Zoo. Her father died while she was very young. Rufus is a kind of adoptive father. Her and Kali have been increasingly getting along as she as gotten older. They will occasionally play together. Josie will even carry Kali around. One enrichment Josie enjoys is painting.


Photo: Bornean female Kalijon (Kali) is celebrating her 4th birthday today at the Kansas City Zoo!  Happy Birthday Kali!Photo Credit - Stacie Beckett

Credit goes to Stacie Beckett of the Kansas City Zoo

Kali is the latest star of the orangutan clan at the KCZ. She was born on April 24, 2009 at the KCZ to TK and Berani. TK, though, didn’t want to raise Kali, so the keepers had to step in. The keepers and volunteers took turns feeding, playing, and watching out for Kali. After about 5 months, Kali was handed over to Jill to care for. Jill took to her right away. Kali is enthusiastic and like to interact with guests, at least she did with me. Check out the video at She was tapping on  the glass and making silly faces.


Photo: Our Earth Day birthday wish today goes out to Bornean female TK at the Kansas City Zoo.  Happy 28th Birthday TK!Photo Credit - Laura Laverick

Credit: Laura Laverick of the Kansas City Zoo. 2013.

TK is a Bornean orangutan who was born on April 22, 1985 at the Omaha Zoo. TK is Berani’s partner. She is also Kali’s biological mother. However TK couldn’t master the skill of holding Kali near her nipple so she could nurse. The keepers tried as soon as they received TK to train her these motherly skills. TK has mothered two previous orangutans, but those too had to be hand reared. She was a loving mother, but never nursed the babies. She would instead hold them on her head. Her and Berani bonded instantly when put together in 2008. This last birthday she enjoyed crepe paper, color books, chalk, and sleep. Who doesn’t deserve rest and relaxation on their birthday?


Berani is a Bornean orangutan who was born on June 27, 1999 at the Lowry Park Zoo. He was transferred to the KCZ in 2008 to breed with TK. Him and TK are very fond of each other. Berani is very fond of enrichment, especially yummy treats.

Indonesia Expands Moratorium on Logging

In 2011, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a deal with Norway to stop logging in Indonesia for two years to protect the rainforests. Norway would give Indonesia one billion dollars for putting a moratorium on logging. Last month, the president agreed to extend the ban another two years. This is a victory for the preservation of the rainforests and animal species of Indonesia. Besides the obvious advantages, this ban also helps to limit the greenhouse gases that Indonesia emits. Indonesia is the third largest producer of carbon in the world, behind China and the U.S.A; except most of their emissions are not from cars and houses. It is from the burning of the soil in the peat swamps that are deforested. In order for the land to be used for the palm oil plantations, the swamps need to be drained. Peat soils contain an immense amount of carbon, that once burned is released into the atmosphere.

This is a great victory for environmentalists and a sign the Indonesian government is headed in the right direction saving their rainforests. Unfortunately, the ban does have some loopholes. No new contracts can be made to cut down trees, but the ones made before the 2011 ban are still in effect. Therefore those companies are still able to cut down trees in the very vulnerable rainforests. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.


St. Louis Zoo Orangutans

St. Louis Zoo Orangutans

I got the chance to go visit the St. Louis Zoo a few weeks ago. The St. Louis Zoo is beautiful, big, and has great exhibits. My personal favorite was the penguin/puffin exhibit. It was indoors and the temperature was set at 45 degrees F to make you feel like you are in their habitat. The penguins and puffins swam up right next to you, where you could potentially touch them, but it is heavily discouraged.

The orangutan exhibit was hard to find, for me anyways, but I also get lost easily. Lol. But I did eventually find it and it was nice. Grass, plants, and branches covered their exhibit where they were lying and rolling around. The young orangutan was carrying a blanket to cover up in and played a little bit with the adults. There are three orangutans at the STZ, one male and two females.


Merah is the mother. She was born at the Wassanaar Zoo in Holland on May 13, 1969. She is 44 years old. The keepers describe her as “patient, calculating, and picky.” When building her nest, she finds just the right materials that will make the nest nice and cozy for her baby girl, Rubih. She has great patience with her daughter as she plays with her, and in enrichment. She utilizes sticks to get honey out of nests. Orangutans are one of the few animals to make tools. Other enrichment Merah enjoys is cloth. She will throw on a t-shirt or turn it into a cape. How inventive is that!




Rubih is the daughter of Merah. She was born on June 24, 2004 at the St. Louis Zoo. Rubih showed a keen interest in learning as soon as she could. She explores her surroundings very eagerly. To inspect something, she first puts it in her mouth to taste it, even dirt. Gross! She especially likes to chew on the branches and leaves in her exhibit. Rubih is a big momma’s girl and learns her behaviors from Merah. For example, Rubih learned to scratch her back on the wall by viewing her mother.



Robert B.

Robert B. is the newest orangutan at the St. Louis Zoo. He is 20 years old. He was brought there from Rolling Hills Wildlife Adventure in June 2011 on breeding recommendation from the SSP. Juara, the previous male orangutan, died in August of 2010. Robert B. will replace him as Merah’s mate. Robert B. is an outgoing orangutan who loves to visit with the zoo guests. He’ll sit by the glass and watch the visitors. He enjoys viewing cameras and jewelry also.