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Orana Welcomes Orang-Utans From Auckland Zoo

Orana Welcomes Orang-Utans From Auckland Zoo

Orana Wildlife Park is home to New Zealand’s only gorillas … and now the country’s only orang-utans too!

Thick fog at Christchurch airport prevented the highly anticipated arrival of Charlie (36), Melur (29) and Wanita (38) from Auckland Zoo yesterday morning. The apes were flown on the post plane to Christchurch arriving in the early hours this morning.

Orana’s Chief Executive, Lynn Anderson, is excited to welcome the orang-utans, saying the animals are tired after their journey south but have settled in well. “The orang-utans are awesome, they are simply stunning animals. It is an absolute privilege and delight for our team to hold these critically endangered, highly intelligent animals. This is the first time orang-utans have ever resided in the South Island.”

“Male Charlie and females Melur and Wanita are housed next to our magnificent gorillas in the Great Ape Centre. The facility enables people to observe, study and learn about some of the world's most impressive primates and outlines ways in which local people can address the threats faced by these amazing animals. The addition of orang-utans adds significant interest to the habitat” adds Lynn.

The orang-utans will have a two year stay in Christchurch whilst Auckland Zoo completes a brand new precinct for the animals. Orana Wildlife Park and Auckland Zoo have worked very closely over many months carefully planning all aspects of the transfer to ensure the move was a smooth transition. “The transfer is a great example of how zoos collaborate for species management” says Lynn.

Auckland Zoo’s Primate Team Leader, Amy Robbins, has worked with the trio for 17 years and will spend a week in Christchurch settling the orang-utans. “I am delighted that all the planning has come to fruition and the orang-utans have safely arrived. An Auckland Zoo staff member will be working alongside Orana Wildlife Park staff for the two years that the animals are in Christchurch. This will give Charlie, Melur and Wanita the comfort and security of keepers they’re very familiar with, as well as the stimulation of a fantastic new environment and people”.

Orana operates as a registered charitable trust and raises 100% of funds for all capital developments. “We take this opportunity to once again sincerely thank everyone who made the development of the $6M Great Ape Centre possible. The facility is the biggest project ever undertaken in Orana’s history and was designed to hold two species of Great Ape in separate spaces. The arrival of the orang-utans is something very special for our team and of course local people who we expect will be equally excited to meet these incredible Great Apes” concludes Lynn.


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