Oklahoma City Zoo welcomes critically endangered orangutan as newest family member

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has welcomed their newest member to the family!

Negara, a 23-year-old female Sumatran orangutan, recently arrived from the Perth Zoo, located all the way on the continent of Australia.

orangutan

The more than 10,000-mile journey culminated a two-year process of obtaining permits and following domestic and international government protocols.

“We worked with the Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP) supported by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Perth Zoo,” said Laura Bottaro, Zoological curator. “The SSP approved Negara as a breeding companion for our 15-year-old, male Sumatran orangutan Elok. We hope Negara and Elok will enjoy each other’s company, and will increase the population and add genetic diversity to the species in North America. Orangutan numbers are very low in zoos. The Zoo’s partnership with the SSP acts as an important hedge against extinction for orangutans.”

Sumatran orangutans are considered critically endangered in the wild.

Around the world, 60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction, and 75 percent have declining populations, according to Science Advances.

This condition exists due to extensive habitat loss, increased bushmeat hunting , and illegal trade.

In 2016, the zoo partnered with Rainforest Trust to buy and protect over 200,000 acres of forest in Sumatra, which provides habitat for orangutans and is the only reintroduction site for them in the area.

You may not get to see Negara with fellow Elok and Toba together in their habitat for a while.

Introductions are a multiple-step process, and could take several weeks.

However, guests will notice some changes to the trees in the outside orangutan habitat, while plans are underway for a new climbing structure for the orangutans.

Click here for zoo information.