Critically endangered orangutans become newest addition at Naples Zoo

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

A family of four Bornean orangutans are the most recent additions to the Naples Zoo.

The primate family at the Naples Zoo consists of Deedee, Dira, Randee and Ripley.

These primates are known for many distinctive qualities such as being the largest arboreal mammal, their red fur, large brains, grasping hands and sharing 96.4% of our genes.

An orangutan looking outside its enclosure at the Naples Zoo. CREDIT: WINK News

WINK News spoke with Rachel Kulge, the field supervisor for primates at the Naples Zoo, about the new family of primates.

“They’re probably smarter than us,” said Kulge.

Kluge trains the orangutans to present different parts of their body, which makes medical checkups easier.

“Right now, this is Randy and his mom, Ripley. As you can see, right now, he’s trying to get on mom while she’s trying to train,” said Kluge.

An orangutan hand. CREDIT: WINK News

Anyone planning on visiting the arboreal mammals should know about their splash zone enrichment program.

“There’s a button, kind of hidden on our fake tree up there, and they kind of just been secretly pressing it and skirting people, and people are going wild for it,” said Kluge.

While watching the animals is fun, there is a bigger purpose for the critically endangered species. Naples Zoo CEO Jack Mulvena told WINK News their population in the wild is half of what it used to be.

“They’re endangered principally because of habitat loss. There’s been a lot of deforestation, particularly with unsustainable palm oil and the farming of palm oil,” said Mulvena.

Mulvena said one way you can help is by staying on top of what products use sustainable palm oil.

“It’s great to come here and learn about these animals and connect with these animals,” said Mulvena.

A visitor looking at the orangutan enclosure at Naples Zoo. CREDIT: WINK News

According to the WWF, there are just about 104,700 Borean orangutans left. It’s important to learn and do your part in protecting this species so they can be around for future generations. Now, you can do that by visiting Deedee, Dira, Randee and Ripley at the Naples Zoo.

Click here to learn more about orangutans.

Click here to learn more about how palm oil is impacting orangutans.

Click here to learn about how to help orangutans from The Orangutan Project.

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