Your Orangutans Zoobooks issue is swinging its way to you at this very moment–unless it has somehow escaped. We don’t really expect your magazine to escape, of course, but orangutans have proven themselves so good at slipping out of their zoo enclosures that almost anything seems possible.
In 1929, Jiggs II arrived at the San Diego Zoo with a reputation for being able to escape from any cage. At night, with tie wires she had removed from the chain link in her exhibit, she scraped the mortar from between the tiles in another part of the exhibit. When anyone came near, she hid her scraping tool in her straw bedding. By the time her methods were discovered, she had managed to remove a large section of tiles that opened into the next exhibit. Not wanting to live with THOSE animals, she replaced the tiles.
In the 1980s, an orang named Bob escaped so many times, the zoo considered renaming him Houdini. And Bob’s son, Ken Allen, was equally clever. He was regularly found outside his enclosure, and allowed friendly keepers to take him by the hand to lead him back to his exhibit.
All of which underlines the assumption we make when we look into a zoo orang’s eyes–that we are observing an intelligent animal that utilizes a careful thought process. Enjoy reading about these primates in your new Zoobooks issue.