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Matchmaking Zoo Style: Part Five

Categories: Animal Profile, Animals

This is the final update of a five-part blog series following Indah as she moved from the Houston Zoo to the Sacramento Zoo. Read the previous update.

Months of planning and coordination between the Sacramento Zoo and Houston Zoo culminated in October when Indah the Sumatran orangutan successfully arrived at the Sacramento Zoo. Introducing Makan, Cheli, and Indah has been an ongoing, fluid process that changes daily based on the personalities and moods of individuals. Below is a window into the process.

Sumatran Orangutan_Indah
Indah

23 October: Indah moved to the Ape House where the zoo’s other two Sumatran orangutans, Cheli and Makan live. In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, Indah was given time to settle in and adjust to her new environment before being introduced to Makan and Cheli. Indah had to acclimate to hearing chimps in the building, the gibbons next door, her new bedrooms, the sounds of the doors, and even her new keepers. Indah needed to become comfortable moving from one den to another, exploring all her enrichment items, and becoming a more confident orang. amongst these changes.

Zookeepers had planned out all the possible introduction scenarios prior to Indah arriving at the Sacramento Zoo. Perhaps she would be introduced to Makan first, or maybe it would be Cheli, or maybe she would need more time before being introduced to either. Whatever the outcome, zookeepers knew they needed to take their cues from Indah and the other orangutans. They keepers would need to be flexible and recognize that what worked one day might not work the next.

November 15: The big day! After being able to see each other and interact through protected contact, Indah and Cheli were finally given access to the same room at the same time. That first day Cheli remained calm while Indah was a bit hesitant. However, they ended up eating treats together, a good sign at the beginning of this long process.

November 16: For the first time Cheli and Indah were given access to the exhibit together (they decided to stay inside due to the rain).

November 21: After giving Cheli and Indah enough time to begin getting to know each other, Makan was introduced to the mix. While Indah was not very interested in Makan initially, he was curious about her and behaved very well with Indah.

Today and in the months to come: The mixing and matching of the three orangutans will continue over the next several months as the new roommates continue to get to know each other and figure out their social dynamics as a trio. As is expected, they have begun and will continue to test each other’s boundaries and work their way into a routine. Some days they may want to explore the exhibit together, and others they may prefer to spend time alone.

Give Indah a warm welcome on your next visit to the Sacramento Zoo!