Orang utans are one of the most fascinating and clever animals in the Singapore Zoo and one thing’s for sure, it’s never boring when you pay them a visit!
Singapore Zoo is home to two species of orang utans – Bornean and Sumatran orang utans. How to tell them apart? Well, Sumatran orang utans have a rich rust-brown coat and adults often sport a golden beard – yes, even the females! While the Bornean orang utans have a darker coat.
Ah Meng was one of the most iconic orang utans and used to be the icon of Singapore Zoo. Although she passed away in 2008, she’s left many legacies behind, including actual descendants and the passing on of her nurturing qualities as a super mom to the younger orang utans.
In 2011, Ah Meng’s granddaughter Chomel gave birth to her great grandson, Bino, who also happens to be the first Sumatran orang utan born in Singapore Zoo since 1997!
Chomel seems to have inherited her grandmother’s nurturing nature as she also fostered and adopted another baby orang utan, Ishta, who was born around the same time as Bino. Ishta can be easily recognised by her messy ‘bed hair’ and bright orange coat! She loves tropical fruit and is extremely playful, even trying to snatch fruit from the keepers at times.
Another one of our iconic mamas is Bornean orang utan, Anita! She’s a regular at our orang utan feedings and is always seen with her two adorable (and extremely playful) little ones, Natu and Endah.
Just like Chomel, Anita also displays nurturing qualities as she adopted Endah, who happens to be Ishta’s sister. Anita was a keen observer of Ah Meng in her youth, and there’s no doubt she picked up her skills from watching the super mom at work then.
If you’ve seen an active little orang utan around the exhibit, that would be none other than Joko! This playful one is around 2 years old and is the third son of Miri, another one of our power mamas.
Miri also has two other sons – Merlin and Ah Seng, who is the prince of the family. This mischievous one has especially large liquid eyes, and loves breaking branches and demands to be served food first.
Miri is indeed a true blue local because like many Singaporeans, she’s also a foodie! She’ll always be the one trying to wrangle food from the keepers by holding on to or tugging their hands insistently.
Even though Ah Meng is no longer with us, her legacy definitely lives on in various ways. The Safari Zoo Run was conceived to commemorate our famous matriarch, Ah Meng. A part of the proceeds from the run will benefit the endangered wildlife under the care of Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. Find out more about the 8th Safari Zoo Run at safarizoo.run.