OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Sumatran orangutan, Toba, will turn 50 years old this weekend.
The celebration of this year’s birthday will make Toba the longest-living mammal at the OKC Zoo and the oldest zoo-born orangutan in North America.
Toba was born in the Nuremberg Zoo in Berlin, Germany on July 2, 1967, and has lived at the Oklahoma City Zoo since 1975.
To celebrate Toba’s special day the Zoo is hosting a birthday celebration on Sunday, July 2, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the gazebo just outside of the Great EscAPE habitat.
During the birthday celebration, guests will get the opportunity to watch as Toba interacts with a special birthday cake made from edible flowers and different fruits.
Zoo guests will also enjoy music, free ice cream, and samples of Toba’s favorite exotic fruits, including lychee, durian, and jackfruit.
Turf Team, a local garden nursery will also be presenting a generous gift to Toba, 35 of the orangutan’s favorite flowers to eat, the hibiscus plant.
“In the wild, Sumatran orangutans have an average lifespan of around 25 years, so the fact that Toba is turning 50 years old and remains healthy is a true testament to the great care she receives.” said Laura Bottaro, zoological curator of primates at the OKC Zoo.
“Toba’s legacy continues to inspire her team of caretakers and the millions of guests who have seen her over the last 42 years here at the Oklahoma City Zoo.” said Bottaro.
Toba’s birthday celebration is free with the purchase of a general admission ticket.
Although Toba becomes the oldest zoo-born orangutan in North America, the Oregon Zoo recently celebrated the 57th birthday of their Sumatran orangutan Inji, becoming the oldest of the species on the continent.
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered with an estimated 15,000 left in the forests of Indonesia.
Their decline in numbers has been primarily driven by the cultivation of palm oil plantations, resulting in malnutrition and starvation due to lack of habitat.
In 2016, the Oklahoma City Zoo began a partnership with Rainforest Trust, a conservation organization who works with local partners to purchase and protect threatened tropical forests.
Using donations made by OKC Zoo guests, the Rainforest Trust purchased 13,000 acres of rainforest in central Sumatra, an area equal to five times the size of Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner!