My Hometown Enters the Primatology Big Leagues: International Orangutan Center in Indianapolis

The new orangutan facility at the Indianapolis Zoo is really impressive. We checked it out this past summer while visiting my family in Indy. The facility is a network of buildings, outdoor space, & climbing structures that the individuals can navigate with a fair amount of freedom &, if they want it, privacy. Unfortunately, because my iPhone kept filling up & not letting me take more photos, I deleted a few that just showed the buildings w/o any cutesy animal shots. I did not have the foresight to think how I’d use them in a blog post, but I did get a fair number of photos to show off as follow.

The main building looks like a giant church to me.  The triangular central building has a glass wall facing the front with entrances a level up on each side.Orangutan Cathedral

There are few bad spots for watching the orangs because of Rocky, the young male who loves to be watched & to return the gaze.

This is the large viewing area of the main building.

Rocky is so photogenic, I took a million photos of him, but the glare off the glass for most of them (& my poor photography) ruined them. This is an exception from the main area.

Rocky is so photogenic, I took a million photos of him, but the glare off the glass for most of them (& my poor photography) ruined them.  This is an exception from the main area.

The side entrances take visitors in around the same main room but at a higher level. IMG_2061

IMG_2060I almost missed the enrichment show because I thought it would be the usual discussion of the toys they give the animals. However, the Indy Zoo has a sophisticated program of enrichment, teaching the orangs symbol recognition & recall that the keep explains to us as he works.IMG_2097

He asks for the correct symbol that represents the red apple above.

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The orang gets a treat thru a slot in the window when she gets the correct answer.IMG_2090

Yellow apple.

IMG_2085Red apple.

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While watching the enrichment, we see another animal making his/her way to the back rooms through an overhead tunnel from the main room.IMG_2099

After the enrichment demo, we watched two youngsters wrestling in the main room.IMG_2069IMG_2068IMG_2067IMG_2066

Who is watching whom?IMG_2149From the center window, I could see one of my own young primates watching the young orangs.

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I love this contrast of ape hands. I think that’s my hand. On the right.

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The adult male came out of his nook for a few photos. The adult male is apparent by his flanged cheek pads & long matted fur (not the reflection of my Baba Brinkman “Don’t Sleep with Mean People” t-shirt superimposed over him).

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Here you see the difference between an adult male & a juvenile.IMG_2141For more great shots from the International Orangutan Center, follow the Indianapolis Zoo on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, & Instagram or, better yet, go for a visit & take a good camera!

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