Greenville Zoo’s Sumatran orangutan now on exhibit

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Kumar, an 11-year-old male orangutan, was transferred to the Greenville Zoo in November. Photo provided.

Kumar, the Greenville Zoo’s new male Sumatran orangutan, is now on exhibit following the completion of his quarantine period, the zoo announced Wednesday. Another orangutan, Lana, has yet to be introduced.

Kumar, who was born on April 15, 2005, at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas, was transferred to the Greenville Zoo on Nov. 4, 2016. Prior, he was located at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. During his stay there, he spent time with Baby Bob, the offspring of the Greenville Zoo’s former Borean orangutan residents, Mia and Chelsea.

Another orangutan, Lana, will be introduced more gradually into the exhibit.

As for Lana, the zoo said she “has also completed her quarantine period but is taking longer to settle into her new surroundings,” so she will more gradually be introduced to the exhibit. Lana, who is a twin, was born on Jan. 26, 1985, at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Prior to her arrival at the Greenville Zoo on Sept. 27, 2016, Lana was located at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Kumar and Lana were transferred to the zoo as a recommendation by the Orangutan Species Survival Program. Zoo director Jeff Bullock said that before the orangutans are on exhibit together, the goal of the introduction period is “for [them] to get to know each other through the mesh inside their dens before allowing them together in a shared space.”

“Trust is important among a lot of species, but especially with intelligent animals like the orangutans,” Bullock said in a press release. “They need to trust each other and trust their keepers, so Lana’s keepers are giving her extra attention each day during their training sessions to build her confidence and develop that trust.”

Bullock added that Kumar’s access to the exhibit depends on weather conditions, but “even if the weather is nice, we won’t be surprised if he spends more and more time in his den, which enables him to spend time with Lana.”

Facts about Sumatran orangutans:

  1. Sumatran orangutans are one of the world’s 25 more endangered primates.
  2. The species are only found in Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia.
  3. Sumatran orangutans, compared with the Bornean species, are thinner and have longer faces and longer hair, which is a paler shade of red.
  4. As of August 2016, there are 34 male Sumatran orangutans and 41 females in 27 North American institutions.
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