This is Kiko. The oldest male orang-utan (“Person of the Forest”) at the National Zoo in DC.
Male orang-utans have a home range of approximately 11 sq miles. They can travel up to two miles a day in search of food in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. Habitat destruction and — of course — hunting by humans are the main threats to their survival.
I have a great ambivalence towards zoos. I am equally fascinated and troubled by them. As I was watching this fellow stare out at us from his enclosure I admit a deep sadness began to wash over me. He is an amazing creature and I could sit there all day just watching and observing his behavior… even occasionally try to make eye contact with him. But ultimately I couldn’t get past the fact that he’s in a zoo… in Washington DC.
Far from “home.”