Orana's orangutans to bid farewell

Three Bornean orangutans who have called Christchurch home for the past two years will be on the move next month.

Charlie, Melur and Wanita have been living at Orana Wildlife Park while a new home was created for them at the Auckland Zoo.

They are set to move back to Auckland in mid-January. The orangutans stay at the park was a result of the mutually beneficial arrangement between the zoos, Orana spokesman Nathan Hawke said.

They have been sharing the Great Ape Centre at the park with their gorilla housemates.

"Holding two species of great ape side by side creates fantastic educational and recreational opportunities, enabling people to observe, enjoy and study some of the world's most impressive and critically endangered primates," Mr Hawke said.

"This is the first time orangutans have ever been held in the South Island and park visitors have marvelled at meeting these stunning, highly intelligent animals.

"Park staff have thoroughly enjoyed working with the orangutans, delighting in the opportunity to hold New Zealand’s only gorillas and the country’s only orangutans, and of course Auckland Zoo’s primate keepers who have worked on rotation in Christchurch."

Orana will hold a festive fun day on December 24 to celebrate the orangutans last Christmas in Christchurch.

"This will be a fantastic opportunity to farewell these incredible animals," Mr Hawke said.

"Naturally, visitors to Orana will have the opportunity to enjoy seeing the orangutans before they leave us in mid-January."

  • Orangutans are primarily threatened in the wild by deforestation to farm palm oil. Orana and Auckland Zoo have been working together, with help from other New Zealand zoos, on the Ask for Choice campaign, which calls for mandatory labelling on palm oil products and the promotion of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil.



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