PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Visitors to the Phoenix Zoo will soon be seeing a sweet new face.

Rayma the Bornean orangutan moved from Milwaukee to Phoenix last week. She joins Daniel, 12, and three other orangutans.

The Milwaukee County Zoo bade her farewell via Twitter. “We will miss her sweet, gentle, curious ways …,” the zoo said Monday, sharing a video of Rayma hanging out.

The Phoenix Zoo retweeted the post, explaining that one of Rayma's keepers from Milwaukee traveled with her.

“This way Rayma has a friendly face as she adjusts to her new surroundings …,” the zoo explained.

Mary Yoder, of the Phoenix Zoo, met Rayma on her home turf in Milwaukee and made the trip with her, as well.

“Rayma appears to be doing well, so far!” the zoo said.

While she is settling in, Rayma is not out in the public habitat yet. The Phoenix Zoo will let her get situated “on her own timeline.”

While chimps and humans share 99 percent of our DNA, orangutans and humans share “at least 28 unique physical characteristics,” which is far more than we share with other primates, according to a 2009 National Geographic article.

The word “orangutan” is a Malay word that translates to “person of the forest.”

“Orangutans are extremely intelligent creatures who clearly have the ability to reason and think,” according to RedApes.org. “Their similarity to us is uncanny. Baby orangutans cry when they're hungry, whimper when they’re hurt and smile at their mothers. They express emotions just like we do: joy, fear, anger, surprise... it’s all there.”

Bornean orangutans, which generally live to be 35-35 years old in the wild, are an endangered species – “critically endangered,” according to the World Wildlife Fund.

“Mankind may be one of the orangutans' closest relatives, but humans are also the greatest threat to the orangutans' survival,” explains RedApes.org. “Clear cutting, forest fires and hunting are reducing orangutan numbers to alarmingly low levels.”

Their native habitat, the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, are being destroyed, both for lumber and for the production of palm oil, which is used to make many snack foods.

“You can help reduce demand for unsustainably harvested palm oil by purchasing products that use certified sustainable palm oil and by supporting the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil at rspo.org,” according to the Phoenix Zoo.

It’s not clear when Rayma will make her public debut, but the Phoenix Zoo has promised to keep everyone up-to-date through Facebook and Twitter.

Located at 455 N. Galvin Parkway, the Phoenix Zoo is open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. daily through May 31. On June 1, it switches to summer hours-- 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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