Side picture of Sumatran Orang-utan with small child viewing in the background.

Three orang-utans settling into their new home

01 August 2019

Three of Melbourne Zoo’s much-loved orang-utans are settling into their new home at the soon-to-be-opened Sydney Zoo.

Male Santan, 41, and females Maimunah, 33, and Dewi, 8, arrived safely at their new home yesterday.

They are already settling in and exploring their new territory.

The family unit will live in purpose-built housing at Sydney Zoo, featuring a day room, loads of arboreal space, auto-feeders, hammocks, night dens and a suspended line high above the facility.

Dewi and Maimunah
Dewi and Maimunah at Melbourne Zoo

Zoos Victoria’s three other orang-utans – females Kiani, 41, and Gabby, 29, and male Malu, 16, – remain at Melbourne Zoo.

Melbourne Zoo’s primates team has worked tirelessly for over 12 months with the team at Sydney Zoo, and will continue to do so to ensure the smooth relocation of the family group, including accompanying Maimunah, Dewi and Santan on their journey.

Members of the Melbourne Zoo team will remain in Sydney for the next few weeks while the orang-utans continue to settle in.

“While it’s always difficult for us to have much-loved animals in our care move to a new home, it’s great that we have been able to move the family group together as it will really help them settle quickly,” said Harna Burton, Melbourne Zoo’s Primates Life Sciences Manager.

“Santan, Maimunah and Dewi will have a vital role to play in bringing important conservation messaging to a new audience of visitors to Sydney Zoo, by showing how wonderful Orang-utans are and how vital it is that they and their habitats are protected in the wild.”

Orang-utans are critically endangered in the wild, and their population is decreasing, making well-managed zoo-based conservation and breeding programs more important than ever. Habitat destruction due to unsustainable palm oil plantations is one of the biggest threats orang-utans face in the wild.

Zoos Victoria’s Don’t Palm Us Off campaign has been calling for clearer labelling of palm oil on products to try to reduce the impact of unsustainable palm oil operations.

Gabby the orang-utan