Nov
24

Today in Smithsonian History: November 24, 1987

Tucker, a two-day-old orangutan, cradled in the arms of his mother Pensi at the National Zoological Park. (Photo by Jessie Cohen, as featured in the Torch, May 1983)

Tucker, a two-day-old orangutan, cradled in the arms of his mother Pensi at the National Zoological Park. (Photo by Jessie Cohen, as featured in the Torch, May 1983)

November 24, 1987 Bonnie, one of the National Zoological Park’s eight orangutans, gives birth to Kiko, her first infant.

Today, Kiko weighs 230 pounds and is easily recognizable by his big cheekpads and long hair. Kiko is the star of the O Line (the Zoo’s unique Orangutan Transport System) because of his impressive display of arboreal skill when he brachiates (swings hand over hand) on the cables. He likes to sleep late and do what he wants, and he gets impatient when his keepers are not moving quickly enough (to his liking).

Bonnie, born in 1976, still resides at the National Zoo. She is a particularly intelligent orangutan, constantly observing her environment and the orangutans and keepers around her. She made national news in 2008 for teaching herself how to whistle, without any human coaching.

Mother cuddling infant orangutan

Batang bonds with her infant in the Great Ape House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The baby Orangutan was born at 8:52 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo by Alex Reddy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)

The Great Ape House and Think Tank are home to six orangutans: Kiko, Kyle, Bonnie, Iris, Batang and Lucy, and baby Redd. Redd is the first Bornean orangutan born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 25 years. He was born Sept. 12, 2016 to mother Batang and father Kyle. Zoo staff selected the name “Redd” for the male infant; orangutans are known as the “red ape.”

Kiko displays his skill on the O Line.

Kiko displays his skill on the O Line.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 24 November 2016
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