A Wonderful Transformation – Radcliffe

Radcliffe 1st day  This is Radcliffe when he arrived at the Center for Great Apes in Florida.  He was too thin and had very little hair.  Obviously, he was not well physically nor psychologically.

Radcliffe was born on February 18, 1979 in a zoo in Ohio.  Radcliffe was unlucky in that he is a cross between a Bornean orangutan and a Sumatran orangutan.  This fact probably was why he was sold to a circus trainer as a baby. 

Thus began his entertainment career.  Yes, he was a television personality and he also had to perform for small traveling circuses during his early years (when he should have been with his mother).

You’ll NEVER guess what happened?  Of course, Radcliffe became too large for the trainers to handle safely.  He was sold to another zoo in New York and then to a roadside attraction in Florida.  He was almost to his final and best home he could imagine.

The roadside attraction closed and thankfully the Center for Great Apes was able to rescue him from his years in small cages.

Radcliffe up high  Radcliffe now gets to climb high in his sanctuary home.

Radcliffe up high 2  He lives with another orangutan named Bam Bam.

And, using the wonderful Boswell Walk-About Chute System he visits all of his other orangutan friends.

Center for Great Apes tunnel system

Radcliffe with enrichment  Radcliffe loves to play with all the enrichment items the center provides for him.  The center makes sure he gets three enrichments a day to keep his curious mind busy.  He really likes bubbles in his water and rags so he can wash down the toys, shelves and walls of his nighthouse.

Radcliffe 12 months  This is what Radcliffe looked like after 12 months at the center.  He not only looked better but he felt better.

Radcliffe started out life not so lucky since he was not pure Bornean nor pure Sumatran.  But if he could talk now he would say how thankful he is a cross between both types of orangutans because it brought him to the Center for Great Apes his final and best home.

What can you do for Radcliffe?  Donate enrichment items to the center.  Check out their Wish List for items you can donate.

You can send your donations to:  Center for Great Apes, Box 488, Wauchula, Florida 33873

If you want to learn more about how you can help Radcliffe and the other orangutans and chimps that the center provides permanent homes to, contact them: http://www.prime-apes.org/html/contact.html

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Not So Fun Facts About Orangutans

Not so Fun Facts:

Every minute, every day an area equal to six football fields of Indonesian forest disappears. 

Orangutans in the entertainment industry do not have social security or pensions to fall back on when they have to retire.  Their former trainers and owners do not provide for their needs once they are too old to bring in money.

Since small orangutans are easier to handle in the entertainment industry they keep breeding orangutans in captivity in order to keep the supply of babies available.  After taking them from their mother and using them for our entertainment the orangutans are then set aside when they become to large to handle usually kept in cages too small for them.  

Orangutans used in the entertainment industry are torn from their mothers when born, kept in small cages on the set with nothing to entertain them for enrichment of their lives but forced to perform and “entertain” people many times a day.  Their former owners regrettably do not provide them retirement income when they become to large to handle and are turned over to the Center for Great Apes sanctuary in Florida.

Approximately 1 out of 6 orphaned orangutans are fortunate enough to be rescued.

Nearly 1,000 orphaned orangutans are in rescue and rehabilitation centers.

Just like humans, orangutans can catch malaria from mosquitoes and even die from the disease.

Orangutans have lost approximately 80% of their habitat in the last 20 years.

Approximately 1/3 of the wild population of orangutans died during the fires of 1997 and 1998.

There were about 20,000 orangutans in Borneo in 1996 and there are approximately 12,000 to 15,000 orangutans in Borneo now with approximately 4,000 to 6,000 in Sumatra at this time.

If this rate of decline continues orangutans in the wild will be extinct in approximately 10 years.

The human population of Indonesia has grown from 10 million people at the beginning of the century to over 200 million people at this time.
 

When creating plantations it is common to first burn the land. These fires often spread uncontrollably and orangutans are burned to death having no chance to escape.

Poachers sell infant orangutans as exotic pets.

These baby orangutans are often placed outdoors in small wooden cages or chained to poles where they are exposed to the elements such as wind, rain and sun.

Poachers eat and sell the flesh of adult orangutans.

Illegal logging and fires are making the native habitat rainforests of the orangutans disappear at an unsustainable rate.

When the rainforest is cut down or burned, orangutans are often forced to enter plantations in order to find food where humans kill or capture them.

In Asia there is a big market for orangutan babies as pets.

In both Indonesia and Malaysia there is great prestige to be able to afford to have a captured wild animal in your home.

Many of the people who keep orangutans as pets are the very people who should be enforcing the law.

Orangutans are often smuggled to other countries in the large freighters loaded with the very timber that was once their home and many die enroute.

Illnesses, stress, depression and death are typical of captive orangutans.

Fun Facts About Orangutans

Orangutan Fun Facts:

 Kesi on ground

Orangutans are highly intelligent and use tools:

They will poke twigs into holes to catch insects, chew up leaves and use them as sponges and use branches and sticks to test the depth of water before entering it.

Orangutans are sometimes referred to as “red apes.”  

Orangutans are the only Great Ape found outside Africa.

Orangutans are the only “red” ape.

Orangutans are the only strictly arboreal ape, meaning that they spend their lives in the forest canopy.

Orangutans breed slower than any other primate and have approximately 3 offspring in their lifetime. 

Sumatran orangutans have lighter hair, longer beards and narrower cheekpads than Borean orangutans.

Brachiating  Orangutans brachiate (swing arm-over-arm through the forest) better than any other ape.

There are two species of orangutans: Sumatran, Pongo abelii,  Sumatran

and Borean, Pongo pygmaeus.  Bornean

Orangutans are the only apes in the world that are from Asia. 

Orangutans are diurnal which means they are active during the day. 

Orangutans have opposable thumbs which means they can touch each of their fingers with their thumb. 

A male orangutan’s cheek pads keep growing for most of their life. 

Orangutans have 32 permanent teeth (the same amount as humans).  They have sharp canine teeth with the male orangutan having longer canine teeth that they use for threat displays and fighting. 

Mosquitoes bother orangutans just like they do humans and they will use branches like fly swatters to swish them away.

When it rains or the sun is hot an orangutan will hold a leafy branch or two over its head to protect itself from getting wet or overheated. 

Most orangutans build a nest every night high up in a tree and sometimes even add a roof of leaves. 

Orangutans can make approximately 13 to 15 different vocalizations. 

The name “orangutan” translates into English as “man of the forest”. It comes from Malay and Bahasa Indonesian orang (man) and hutan (forest). 

At this time orangutans can still be found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.

Legend says that orangutans can speak but choose not to because they fear they would be forced to work if were they ever caught talking.

An orangutan arms can have a reach of more than 8 feet!  How tall are you?  Probably not 8 feet or higher.  So, an orangutan can have a reach of a length longer than you are tall!

In their true habitat, male orangutans live alone and females live alone or with their infants.

Male orangutans reach a height of approximately 4.5 feet and females about 3.5 feet tall.

An orangutan is expected to live in their true habitat between 35 to 50 years (when not having their lives interrupted by poachers or other humans).  There are cases of orangutans in captivity living over 50 years–but what kind of life is that?  Give me 35 years of freedom instead of 50 years in a cage.

Female orangutans usually have one baby at a time and will only have one every 6 to 7 years.

Orangutans eat tropical fruits, leaves, sprouts, bark and insects.

Baby orangutans cry when they’re hungry, whimper when they’re hurt and smile at their mothers.