by Patch Staff
Zoo Atlanta joins a global coalition of zoos and conservation organizations in celebrating Orangutan Caring Week, observed around the world beginning on Nov. 11. On November 11 and 17, Zoo Atlanta animal care professionals will host special activities centered on the irreplaceable red apes of Asia and their plight in the wild.
Highlights will include education stations; a keeper Q&A; orangutan feeding; and fun facts on orangutan diet, adaptations and enrichment. Special orangutan feedings will continue throughout the week.
Both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are endangered, but critically endangered Sumatran orangutans face the more immediate risk of extinction. Orangutan populations have declined drastically in their native Indonesia, where habitat conversion to palm oil plantations, over-harvesting of timber and human encroachment have resulted in the death and displacement of thousands of apes in recent years. Without focused conservation efforts, most notably in the form of a targeted push to end unsustainable palm oil production, Sumatran orangutans may be extinct within 10 years.
Zoo Atlanta houses the nation’s largest zoological collection of orangutans, with 13 individuals, and is home to both the Bornean and Sumatran species. Ranging in age from 42-year-old Biji to 2-year-old Remy, the normally solitary orangutans share their habitats in small social groups. One of these will soon expand to include a new baby: 16-year-old Blaze is expecting an infant in January 2013.
If you go: Sunday, Nov. 11 and Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, Activities from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; keeper Q&A at 11 a.m.; orangutan feeding at 2:15 p.m.