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Great ape debuts at Lowry Park Zoo

TAMPA – Say hello to Lowry Park Zoo's newest ape, Goyang (pronounced GO-young).

The 14-year-old Bornean orangutan arrived last month from Pittsburgh Zoo to be the dominant male of Tampa's orangutan group.

After a series of introductions to the zoo's female orangutans, zookeepers began the process of acclimating him to an outdoor habitat. In Pittsburgh, Goyang lived in a geodesic biodome (an ecosystem replica in a climate controlled environment), so he hadn't experienced elements like Florida's sun, rain, wind or thunder. He has adapted well, at his own pace, the zoo says.

The large but reserved male has been paired with the zoo's adult females on recommendation of the Bornean Orangutan Species Survival Plan, a program designed to support the conservation of select wildlife species at risk of extinction. There are a total of 82 Bornean orangutans in 24 group-accredited institutions in North America.

Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo is currently home to five Bornean orangutans including Goyang: Josie, Hadiah, Dee Dee and RanDee.

Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, the longhaired red great apes can be found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Orangutan (pronounced oran-gu-tan with no "g" on the end) is a Malay word that means "man of the forest." The species is considered endangered in the wild due to rapidly expanding palm oil plantations and habitat loss in southeast Asia. According to Orangutan Foundation International, both Sumatran and Bornean orangutans could become extinct in the wild as biologically viable populations within 10 to 20 years

Great ape debuts at Lowry Park Zoo 07/12/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 12, 2013 11:53am]

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