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Meet Madu’s mixed-species group

Hi I’m Erin, a member of the Orangutan Care Team here at Zoo Atlanta. I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you a little about one of our groups of orangutans here at the Zoo! The group currently living on Habitat 2 includes three out of 10 of the orangutans we have and is also our most diverse. It’s the only mixed-species orangutan group we have.  

First we have Madu, the matriarch of the group. Madu is a 38-year-old Sumatran orangutan and is also our amazing adoptive mom!  Despite never having kids of her own, she has raised four kids, including the two she is currently raising. Orangutans stay with their moms for seven to 10 years, so it’s a big job. Currently she is raising Rembulan Wajah (aka “Remy”) and Keju.  Remy is a sweet, 11-year- old Sumatran orangutan who came to us from Texas. In Indonesian, his name means “full moon” and was named for the round shape of his head when born.  Keju is a spunky 6-year-old Bornean orangutan who came to us from Wisconsin. Keju means “cheese” in Indonesian since everyone knows what Wisconsin is famous for. Madu teaches them important orangutan skills, such as learning to climb, foraging for food and nest building, that are essential to their success as adults.

Zoo Atlanta participates in the AZA Orangutan Species Survival Plan® (SSP).  SSPs were developed to ensure the survival of select species in zoological populations and were responsible for deciding where to relocate Remy and Keju when their mothers were unable to take care of them. Typically, Bornean and Sumatran orangutans do not live together, but given Madu’s reputation as an excellent adoptive mother, she was chosen to care for Keju. Due to the many skills that orangutans need to learn before adulthood, it’s essential that they are raised by other orangutans instead of humans. Next time you visit the Zoo, make sure and stop by the orangutan habitats, and you may just see Madu teaching Remy and Keju something new.

Erin P.
Keeper I, Primates

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