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December 26, 2003 | David Kelly, Times Staff Writer
Mias is a big, noisy ape that chomps melon rinds like potato chips and flings plastic buckets around when he's bored. Yet one whiff of rose oil, and the bruising orangutan wilts, becoming as docile as a lamb. He pushes his nose through the cage and lets Rhonda Pietsch gently daub it with a bit of rosy scent, then inhales dreamily. "They really look forward to this," said Pietsch, an animal keeper at the Denver Zoo. "Smell is such an important part of their lives."
November 23, 2003 | Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writer
According to an atlas, it's roughly 10,000 miles from Southern California to the nearest orangutan living in the wild. But that didn't deter a crowd from packing a lecture hall at Cal State Long Beach on Saturday for a daylong conference on the great apes, their behavior and what can be done to save them. Orangutans are native only to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in the Southeast Asian nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. Their populations have plummeted in the last century.
October 4, 2003 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Habitat destruction by illegal loggers could mean the extinction of orangutans within 10 to 20 years, a Harvard researcher studying the apes said. Logging has been increasing in recent years, moving away from river edges into the interiors of the forests where the orangutans live, Cheryl Knott said. Knott studies orangutans in Indonesia's Gunung Palung National Park, home to about 2,500 of the animals, about one-tenth of those in the world.
January 4, 2003 | Usha Lee McFarling, Times Staff Writer
Whether it's using leaves to daintily dab at food dripping from their chins or saying goodnight with loud, squeaky kisses, orangutans appear to have culture -- learned behavioral innovations that spread among social groups and to succeeding generations. Once thought to be the hallmark of man, cultural transmission has been detected in chimps, which evolved 7 million years ago.
June 16, 2002 | From Times Wire Reports
Fans by the hundreds arrived in Lop Buri, Thailand, to take part in Buddhist funeral rites for Mike, a gentle orangutan who died Thursday at age 17 of complications from fluid in the lungs. He is to be buried today beneath his own statue in the city zoo. Mike's wife, Susu, and offspring Lamyai will attend, wearing black outfits provided by the zoo. Mike's lavish 1996 wedding with Susu drew hundreds of guests, and four human couples were married alongside them.
May 5, 2002 | From Associated Press
Peering out from a filthy cage filled with animal droppings and rotting food, the siamang gibbon stretches out a long black hairy arm to grab a banana offered by one of the four men who keep it imprisoned while they search for a buyer. These animal traders are part of an illegal multimillion-dollar business in Indonesia, which has more endangered primates, including the siamang gibbon, than any other country.
December 19, 2001 | Reuters
St. Petersburg's police chief was fired Tuesday after comparing a black suspect to an orangutan. Police Chief Mack Vines, who is white, had served only since Oct. 5, although he also held the position from 1974 to 1980. Vines used the term "orangutan" at a meeting with officers earlier this month to describe the actions of a black suspect who had to be pulled out of a car by police after he wrapped his arms around the steering wheel.
Seven-month-old Nabima often has nightmares. She wakes in the night screaming and crying, says Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who is looking after the little orangutan on Borneo Island. At only a few weeks old, Nabima and her mother were shot out of a tree by tribesmen in Borneo's remote interior. As she lay watching on the ground, her mother was killed, skinned and eaten. Nabima was bundled up and taken to a nearby town where she was sold for about $2 as a pet.
With the solemnity usually reserved for the passing of revered civic leaders, San Diego Zoo officials on Friday announced the death of Ken Allen, an escape-artist orangutan so beloved that he had his own fan club. Zoo officials had worried that the death of the 29-year-old Bornean orangutan after a fight with cancer would be traumatic for local zoo lovers, particularly the Orang Gang, a group that appears daily to check on Ken Allen and the zoo's other seven orangutans.
Rose-Marie Weisz grew up on a cattle ranch in North Dakota; now her job is managing very different animals: orangutans. The four orangutans at the Los Angeles Zoo--Eloise, Bruno, Rosie and Kalim--recently moved into a new $6.5-million habitat, called the Red Ape Rain Forest. The new exhibit replicates the creatures' natural habitat in Borneo and Sumatra with 20-foot bamboo, fruit trees, and a recirculating stream that runs through the 6,000-square-foot area.
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