As Spring has arrived here in New England I’m reminded that the Southwick Zoo locally will soon open for the season. I have yet to visit this zoo that promises new adventures with their unique layout and animals. I was thinking of my years in Portland and the hundreds of visits I made to their Oregon Zoo. One of my favorite exhibits there was the red ape exhibit with their orangutans. I quickly became friends with the oldest orangutan in captivity, 55 year old Inji.
Inji was responsible for many generations of little ones but said goodbye to her grandson, Kutai, when he passed away quite suddenly during an operation. Kutai was only 20 years old and a favorite of zoo visitors. Now alone the zoo staff tried introducing other primates to Inji such as our two gibbons. They harassed the old lady so much I stopped going to see her exhibit. Finally the Oregon Zoo received 3 new orangutans, two males and one female of breeding age. Suddenly Inji had new friends and picked back up where she had left off, as the matriarch of our great ape family. The last time I saw Inji she was getting along fabulously with Bob, a 10 year old male orangutan from Borneo.