Phoenix Zoo

I was planning on visiting the Phoenix Zoo on July 1. My trip was canceled though due to record breaking temperatures. The PZoo is mainly outdoors and I didn’t want to battle the heat without shade. I was highly disappointed though because the Phoenix Zoo is the only zoo in Arizona with orangutans. There are three orangutans residing at this zoo:  mother, father, and daughter. In Spring of 2011, the PZoo opened up Orang-Hutan: “People of the Forest.” This new facility gave a large outdoor exhibit and two indoor exhibits for the orangutans to roam around. In June of 2012, the oldest living orangutan at the time, Duchess, passed due to cancer.


Photo: Our first birthday wish today is going out to Bornean female Bess at the Phoenix Zoo.  Bess is turning 35 today!  Let's hope Kasih and Michael let her celebrate in peace!  She looks so much like her mom Duchess in this pic :)Photo Credit - Denise Wagner

Photo credit: Denise Wagner

Bess is a female Bornean orangutan. She was born at the Phoenix Zoo on March 26, 1979 to Duchess. She is the mother of Kasih and the mate of Michael. Kasih is her first offspring. Bess is shy and uses the large exhibit to keep her distance away from Michael. However she is bright and learns new behaviors very easily. Something she taught herself was if she got her hand wet by the misters and held it over her head, she would keep herself cool.


Photo: We're back in Phoenix for Bornean male Michael's 26th birthday!  I know it will be a great time, Denise and Bob really know how to throw a good party!Photo Credit - Denise Wagner

Photo credit: Denise Wagner

Michael is a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at the Los Angeles Zoo on March 27, 1987. He was transferred to the Phoenix Zoo in October 2000. He is Kasih’s father. He is the dominant orangutan in the group and has an outgoing, comedic personality. He loves playing with enrichment will play tricks on the keepers, such as spitting water at them.


Photo: We are also celebrating the 7th birthday of Bornean female Kasih at the Phoenix Zoo!  Kasih is the daughter of the lovely Bess and handsome Michael and the granddaughter of the one and only Duchess.  We know Denise and Bob are making this day extra special for this feisty little lady! Happy Birthday Kasih!

Photo Credit - Denise Wagner

Photo credit: Denise Wagner

Kasih is a female Bornean orangutan. She was born at the Phoenix Zoo on January 27, 2006. She is a playful young orangutan. Before her grandmother, Duchess, died, Kasih would play around with her the most. She has characteristics of both her parents: shy, sensitive, and comedic. Another personality trait is intuition. She has correctly predicted outcomes to Cardinal’s games and the 2012 Fiesta Bowl.



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.