learning, life, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, on closer examination, photography

Monkey business…

4-29monkeyfeatureMy love affair with Orangutans goes back to when I lived in San Diego in the 70s.  We were a Navy family, part of a huge number of military families there.  Happily the San Diego Zoo made a trip there very affordable for us, which was a blessing when your husband would ship out for 7 months at a time.  The first thing you would see upon entering was the nursery, where they took care of baby animals for whatever reason they might need to.  Tiny baby orangutans wearing premie-sized Pampers and playing together in that nursery was the cutest thing ever.  I was hooked.

But I only looked up info on them today.  I discovered that their name comes from ‘orang’ which is Malay for person, and ‘utan’ which means forest.  They were considered to be persons who lived in the trees.  They are peaceable, quiet, shy, gentle, and friendly to humans.  They fashion tools to use to gather food, and they seem to have maps in their brains so that they know which trees will bear ripened fruit and when.  They are the largest tree dwelling mammal, and seldom need to come to the forest floor.  They live to be 35 to 40 years old in the wild, nurse from their mothers until 6 years old, and don’t reproduce until their teens.  This means that each female orangutan only has 4 or 5 babies in her lifetime, which is part of the reason they are endangered in Borneo, and critically endangered in Sumatra.

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And did I mention that 97% of their genetic makeup is the same as humans?  The photo group visited the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa yesterday, and though I took lots of photos, these are my favorites, and I just had to let them stand alone…

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