Orangutan Caring Week

Happy Orangutan Caring Week! We’re celebrating the Zoo’s seven orangutans by sharing their stories.

Redd Update

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid! At 8 weeks old, our Bornean orangutan Redd is alert, attentive and making eye contact with those around him. His social circle is expanding, too. Earlier this month, he met Kiko and Iris while mom, Batang, held him close. Kiko sat right next to Batang, but Iris chose to keep her distance. Overall, their meet-and-greet went smoothly.


Researcher Jenny Botting is studying how orangutans and gorillas understand the minds of other individuals. To get Jenny’s attention, will Bonnie gesture or make noise? If Jenny has her eyes covered, will Bonnie change her tactics?


Orangutan habitat is vanishing to make way for palm oil plantations. You can help Bornean and Sumatran orangutans—both of which are critically endangered—by being an informed consumer. Products that say “sustainably sourced” on the label are orangutan friendly.


No day is routine for the Zoo’s orangutans! To help the animals stay physically and mentally active, keepers provide the great apes with many types of #ZooEnrichment throughout the day. Puzzle feeders—like this firehose cube—are quite durable toys. Part of the fun for Lucy is shaking the treats out!

Animal Care

This time last year, keepers were hoping that all of their breeding plan preparations would result in a pregnancy. Now, the Zoo has a healthy 9-week-old infant, Redd! Batang’s maternal training increased her confidence in caring for her little one. But, where does he go when she wants both hands free? On her head, of course!


Open wide! Using positive reinforcement training, keepers ask the Zoo’s orangutans to open their mouths on cue. They can inspect the animals’ teeth for any chips and cracks, and even give them a brush from time to time. Iris has healthy chompers!


On behalf of Batang, Bonnie, Iris, Kiko, Kyle, Lucy, and Redd, THANK YOU for celebrating Orangutan Caring Week with us! Learn more about orangutan conservation, research, enrichment, training and care at the daily 1:30 p.m. Think Tank demonstration.

Want to support the Zoo’s animals? Adopt an orangutan: http://s.si.edu/2gnxwkh.