Here at Zoo Atlanta, we house three different family groups of orangutans. We have one Bornean group, one Sumatran group, and one group that has both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans because foster mom Madu (Sumatran) is raising Keju (Bornean). We also have a singly housed Sumatran female named Biji. She is 50 years old and prefers to live by herself.
Our Bornean group consists of Miri, Satu, and Pelari. You can see them out on Habitat 1 most of the time. Satu is the largest one in this group and can be distinguished by his cheek pads on either side of his face – a sign of a mature adult male. Look for Satu in front of either of the two viewing areas or in the hammock that is on the tallest climber. Miri is about half the size of Satu, and Pelari is the smallest. Neither of them have cheek pads, but as Pelari continues to mature into an adult he’ll grow cheek pads too! Miri and Pelari can be seen throughout the habitat, but if you can’t find them, look closely at the front hammock – they like to cuddle up there together especially on cooler days.
This group is a little odd and one that you would likely not see in the wild. Satu is a 17-year-old, fully grown adult male who lives with his 29-year-old mom, Miri, and his 7-year-old younger brother, Pelari. In the wild adult male orangutans tend to be solitary, which means they typically do not live closely with other orangutans, but here at the Zoo Satu does well living with his mom and brother.
Satu does enjoy some alone time while Miri is busy keeping tabs on and raising Pelari, but he loves to play with Pelari too! Satu and Pelari like to spend time together wrestling, especially when they are inside the orangutans’ behind-the-scenes indoor area for the day when it’s too cold or rainy to go outside. Pelari will climb up above Satu and then jump down on top of him or run up to Satu and pull on some of his hair, which almost always results in a wrestling match. Given that Satu is much larger and stronger than Pelari, it would be easy for Satu to be a little too rough, but he is very careful not to injure his little brother, and mom is always close by to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
Satu currently weighs 111 kilograms (or 244 pounds), while Pelari is only 31 kilograms (or 68 pounds), but one day Pelari will fully mature into an adult and grow to be as big and strong as his older brother. When that day comes, Satu and Pelari will likely be separated, as housing adult males together is not recommended and can be dangerous for the individuals, but for now the team loves watching these two brothers wrestle and enjoy each other’s company.
Keeper I, Primates