The Metro Richmond Zoo welcomes RJ, a male orangutan born earlier this year to parents Tasha and Rory. RJ, named after his father, weighed approximately 4 pounds at birth, a healthy normal weight. During the cooler months, Tasha and RJ spent their time in their indoor enclosure. Since the weather has been warmer, RJ has become more mobile, enjoys his time outside with his mother and father, and can be seen each day on exhibit.
Notice how RJ grasps onto Tasha. Mother apes and monkeys typically do not hold onto their young; the babies are responsible for hanging on. The Zoo now has six orangutans.
Check out this video from the Zoo’s Youtube channel of Tasha and RJ:
The name “orangutan” comes from an Indonesian phrase meaning “person of the forest.” Orang means person and hutan means forest. Orangutan is pronounced oranguTAN, not TANG. They are classified as apes, not monkeys. These beautiful creatures are among some of the most intelligent animals in the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, they have been victim to poaching and deforestation, resulting in an endangered status. Deforestation for the establishment of palm oil plantations is the primary cause for habitat loss for orangutans. Female orangutans usually only have a baby every 7-8 years and will closely nurture their young for the first four years of their life.