Apr
21

Today in Smithsonian History: April 21, 1981

Orangutans in the Great Ape House in the National Zoological Park

Orangutans Bonnie, in the tub, and Azy relaxing in their new home in the Great Ape House in the National Zoological Park. (Photo by Jessie Cohen, as featured in the Torch, May 1981)

April 21, 1981 The new Great Ape House at the National Zoological Park opens to the public. The exhibit houses the Zoo’s four gorillas and four orangutans. The animals are housed behind a protective glass barrier because apes are highly susceptible to human infectious diseases and must be kept away from the visitors.

Sept. 12, 2016 marked the first time in 25 years that a Bornean orangutan was born at the National Zoo. The male infant, named Redd, was born to 19-year-old parents Batang and Kyle following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

Mother and infant orangutans

Mother Batang cradles infant Redd, born Sept. 12, 2016. (Photo by Alex Reddy)

Currently, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo is home to seven orangutans, including baby Redd, and six western lowland gorillas. Based on recommendations from the Gorilla Species Survival Plan, the zoo manages one gorilla troop, and one bachelor group. The two groups alternate indoor and outdoor space, depending on the time of day and the weather. Meet the gorillas >>

Six-month-old baby Kibibi and mother Mandara in 2009. (Photo by Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian's National Zoo)

Six-month-old baby Kibibi and mother Mandara in 2009. (Photo by Mehgan Murphy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


Posted: 21 April 2017
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