Man, this is sad. (T.T)

Everyone knows that our local hairy megacelebrity Ah Meng died just last Friday at the old ripe age of 48 (which is a human age of 95!! woot!!!). This morning, just before I was about to leave my place for work, my mum who was reading today’s newspapers showed me a distressing article. Below is a short segment which I got from Straits Times online:

TRAGEDY struck the zoo’s orang utans a second time in a week, when a young female orang utan died of a dislocated neck in a freak accident on Wednesday.

At mid-day, Atina, aged 2 1/2, caught her neck in a hanging noose, which was part of a hammock in the apes’ enclosure.

Her mother Anita and other orang utans, in their haste to free her, tugged at her neck, dislocating it.

She died instantly, said a zoo spokesman.


*sigh* There was a picture of the said orang utan in the papers and she was such a cute little thing. Not the picture which I’ve post above though cause I got that from the Web, but ain’t it adorable just the same? I’ve an attachment to apes because they are the only group of animals that resembles humans so much. Whenever I visit the zoo, I can stand at the orang utan enclosure for more than 15 minutes, watching them play. There was once when I’d the luck to see a young orang utan playing enthusiastically with a torn sack. It was running and jumping about holding the sack open and above its head with its 2 hands. It also wore the sack around itself as if it was Superman! That experience had amazed me so much. That’s why sometimes I’ve a hard time thinking of them as simply animals like a dog or a cat. There’s little wonder of the similarities though, given that we humans belong to the same family (Hominidae) as the orang utans, gorillas and chimpanzees.   

That put aside, orang utans are after all not Homo Sapiens. Which explains why other orang utans had tugged at her despite the fact that she had her neck caught in the noose. And ended up killing her when they were just trying to save her. While they do not have the intelligence to save one of their mates, I’m also glad that neither are they smart enough to understand that they’ve killed her in the process. I heard that some of the orang utans were so sad to see Ah Meng dead at that time that they refused food. Just like humans, isn’t it? Many of us tend to lose our appetite when we’re upset too. 

If you haven’t been to the zoo lately, you should go soon. There has been quite a large-scale renovation to many animal enclosures and some are still in the works. The orang utan enclosure is actually no longer. Instead what we’ve now is the world’s first orang utan free ranging area! Two free-ranging areas have been created for our 24 orang utans to swing, climb and even play. Located at two areas flanking the Bornean Orang Utan Island, the boardwalk and island free ranging areas allow visitors to better observe these primates up close. About five orang utans including sub-adult, young and mother with babies – will be on display at the respective free ranging areas.

It’s quite an intriguing experience because the orang utans will just be swinging around on the trees above your head or simply sitting there. No enclosure at all! I think our Singapore Zoo has done an excellent job in preserving this highly endangered species. Not only can we boast of a large social group of the arboreal animals, we’ve also bred many orang utans to date. The ability to breed is a good indication of the state of physical and emotional health of a zoo animal, which says a great deal of our zoo. We’ve so many orang utans that we have sent some to zoos in other countries like Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Japan, Australia and New Zealand as part of the worldwide exchange programme to facilitate breeding of this highly endangered ape. 

Good work, Singapore Zoo! I’m very proud of you! 🙂