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Rajang the orangutan, celebrates his 45th birthday!

in Animals
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Rajang-youngBorn on 14th June 1968, Rajang celebrated his 45th birthday in 2013!

Popular resident, Rajang, arrived at Colchester Zoo in 1980, from Chester Zoo. Rajang is a hybrid, meaning he is part Bornean part Sumatran orangutan. His mother died when he was about a month old, so Rajang was hand-reared by his keepers at Chester Zoo. Rajang has become one of the zoo’s most recognised and favourite resident with regular visitors always popping in to say hello.

The reason why keepers and visitors adore Rajang so much is because he is very interactive and engages with visitors and keepers in ways which other individuals may not. Rajang has a strange fascination with anything new! When the zoo staff were first issued shorts, Rajang was fascinated with the keepers’ legs and knees! He also is intrigued by cuts and bruises, and when he sees them on a person, he attempts to investigate them. Orangutans like many primates often use their lips to examine sores etc. Rajang is also fascinated with jewellery, so best keep an eye on your watch!

One of Rajang’s dedicated keepers, Paula Fairweather commented, ‘Rajang loves to be involved and imitates us when we are cleaning his enclosure. We often give him a cloth and bucket of soapy water so he can clean his windows whilst we clean the rest of the area! One time, Rajang was caught watching our gardeners planting some flowers, so we gave him some plant pots and peat, as well as some leafy twigs and thin branches, and watched to see what he would do. Rajang put the peat in the plant pots, and then cleverly planted the twigs!’

Rajang’s favourite drinks are blackcurrant juice and strawberry flavour complan; his favourite foods are tomatoes, kiwi, bananas and he especially loves his primate biscuits! He likes to play with hessian and paper sacks, and has even made them into ponchos and worn them. This behaviour imitates a wild orang-utan as they are known to use large leaves to shelter themselves from rain or shade from the sun.

Rajang enjoys his regular target training, some of which involves the keepers training him to open his mouth on command so that he can have regular health and dental checks. This makes things quite enjoyable for Rajang rather than having anaesthetics for such routine examination.

Rajang was spoilt rotten on his 45th birthday with the keepers giving him birthday presents for him to unwrap with many goodies inside!


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