Have you caught the news of a female, 16 year old, orang-utan’s quest to find a mate… which has now taken to singles advertisements?
Prior to reading, “Lovelorn orang-utan’s lonely hearts ad,” I knew this is fairly commonplace amongst zoological institutions. If you haven’t heard, or don’t know, most zoos and such keep a ‘stud book’ of fertile individuals under their care. They often share and swap these stud books with other institutions to introduce fresh blood and liven up the captive animal gene pool.
Aside from that relative bit of zoo-keeping secret, this news also shows us the emotional complexity and capacity of a great ape. However, it is being documented in our popular culture, or at least over in Devon, United Kingdom in time for Valentine’s Day. The orang-utan I am speaking about is named Chinta and she’s a “thoughtful and methodical” 6 foot 5 inch female. She lives at Paignton Zoo and has been described as lovelorned since she has been,
“without a mate for more than a year after her previous partner, Nakal, was taken to a Spanish zoo to breed with another female.”
From what I have understood of the article, Chinta, in her non-verbal/direct communication, has clearly shown her emotions to her caregivers… she seems to be pining around, forsaken to the extent that the ad reads,
“big, hairy, ginger male with terrific cheek pads with a view to starting a family and help save the species.”
And to show that level of love-sickness, is not easy for orang-utans. Phil Knowling, a spokesman for the zoo, said,
“Orang-utans aren’t the most expressive of creatures because they don’t have many face muscles.”
This situation makes me wonder and question, again, the depth of emotions… specifically companionship in great apes. They are highly social organisms. As wildlife biologists have shown us, they rely on one another to survive in the environments they occupy. Could this reliance form a sense of love and self that we in-vision to exist only in humans? I’ll let you wonder about that, in the mean time let me make a plea to any institutions that read this blog and have a lonely male orang-utan, to hook a sista up. How could you resist a face like that?
Oh yes, here’s some random tidbits on orang-utans that were randomly floating at the bottom of the article I mentioned.
- Orang-utans are a protected species and the only type of great ape found outside Africa. The name literally means people of the forest.
- They are native to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in South-East Asia.
- Famous for their reddish brown hair and long arms, they spend nearly all of their time in the trees, making a new nest every night.
- Their strong arms stretch out longer than their bodies, enabling them to pass from tree to tree in the rainforest or to hang from branches, eating fruit and leaves.
- Female orang-utans usually give birth to one baby, which remains with its mother for up to six years and typically lives for about 30 years.