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Perfect Match for Orangutans at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 7, 2021 12:30 pm

Woodland Park Zoo Sumatran Orangutan Introduction

Woodland Park Zoo's new female orangutan, Batu (left), and her future mate, Godek (right), have been introduced to each other and continue to bond.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Woodland Park Zoo have welcomed a new female Sumatran orangutan Batu who has quickly taken to her future partner Gomek.

Batu and Gomek were identified as a suitable pair by the orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP). In the future it is hoped that the pair, both aged 12, will produce offspring. The SSP is a co-operative program between zoos to ensure that endangered animals have healthy and self-sustaining populations.

Batu arrived from Philadelphia Zoo and has completed her standard quarantine. She then moved to the orangutan off display dens to begin acclimating to her new home.

Martin Ramirez, a mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo, said the introduction process has been slow, but thoughtful. “Every animal is different and moves at its own pace during introductions. As we do with all our animals, we follow their cues on their timeline, not ours.”

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Once she was settled at the zoo Batu began to meet Godek through "howdy" sessions. These are restricted meetings with a barrier separating the pair.

While Godek showed interest in Batu, she was tentative at first. “Godek exhibited the usual behaviors of orangutans during introductions, such as spitting and pushing against the mesh at Batu, but she was aloof and shy,” explained Ramirez. “Now, they’re bonding, which is great news.”

Carolyn Sellar, an orangutan keeper at Woodland Park Zoo, said Batu is confident, inquisitive and playful. “Batu is eager to see and explore everything and is so smart! She and Godek will have so much fun playing and being young orangutans together. We’re lucky to have such an incredible orangutan join our Seattle family,” said Sellar.

“Batu means ‘rock’ in Malay, and she is going to be that to us here at Woodland Park Zoo as we begin our new foundation of a Sumatran breeding program for future generations.”

Guests visiting Woodland Park Zoo may meet Batu, Godek and the other orangutans at the Trail of Vines habitat. They share their habitat with three other orangutans, 49-year-old Melati and 40-year-old Belawan, both females, and 32-year-old Heran, a male. 

As introductions continue between the group viewing may be limited.

Woodland Park Zoo Sumatran Orangutan Introduction

Batu, a new female Sumatran orangutan at Woodland Park Zoo, has been introduced to her new mate, Godek

Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Learn more about Sumatran orangutans here – Sumatran orangutan Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Woodland Park Zoo on their website – Woodland Park Zoo

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