By Lauren Kraft, Public Relations Coordinator
The Sacramento Zoo recently welcomed Makan to the Sumatran orangutan group. Makan is 6 years old and was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (CMZ) in Colorado Springs. Makan arrived in Sacramento in September and following his quarantine in the veterinary hospital, he was introduced to the two female orangutans. The Sacramento Zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP®) committee have been planning Makan’s move for about a year.
In September, CMZ staff began the drive from Colorado to California with Makan safely tucked away in a large crate. When he arrived, he was moved into our Zoo’s hospital quarantine area where he was monitored for any illnesses that could potentially be transmitted to resident animals. After he received a clean bill of health from the veterinarian, the young orang moved up to the Ape House to begin introductions to the exhibit and the resident orangutans.
Makan joined the Zoo’s two older females: Cheli is 37 years old and Ginger, at 54 years old, is the oldest Sumatran orangutan in a U.S. zoo. Right now, Makan looks like the females and weighs only 65 lbs. In a few years, he will go through a massive growth spurt, developing large amounts of muscle, gaining close to 200 pounds, getting large round cheek flanges, and growing long hair with a mustache and beard. It will be interesting to see Makan on exhibit interacting with the girls, but more interesting to the keepers is how the girls will interact with him! It has been a few decades for both of the females since they have lived with such a young male. He was introduced to the girls in the quiet night quarters away from distracting crowds. When he is on exhibit with Ginger and Cheli, he experiences new surroundings; Makan had never seen zebra or bongos which are viewable from his new home.