Jungle Island’s Orangutan School
The orangutans at Jungle Island in Miami aren’t just receiving great daily care, they’re also learning too. The program was first started as a way to provide better medical care for the apes. The orangutans were first taught specific signs for “ear,” “eyes,” and even “shoulder” as a means for caregivers to be able to administer medication and/or shots. Click here for a link demonstrating some of these behaviors. From there the orangutans were able to communicate basic needs and wants with their trainers. The idea is for the orangutans to be able to communicate what it is that hurts or bothers them so caregivers can better treat their needs.
The use of the iPad was brought about by a suggestion from Jack Kassewitz, who has used the iPad extensively with dolphins. He suggested we try the program with our orangutans. The iPad was then integrated to the existing program being used by Jungle Island caregivers. The app being used on the iPad was initially developed for children with autism. By using the iPad, it’s the hope of Jungle Island trainers that the orangutans can better communicate.
Peanut & Pumpkin
Peanut & Pumpkin are 8-year-old fraternal twins, a rarity in the animal kingdom. These lovable girls have very different personalities and tastes in food. While Pumpkin is independent, introverted and quiet, Peanut is outgoing, energetic and demanding.
11-year old male. Jake is the “big man on campus,” literally. He is the largest orangutan that calls Jungle Island home. His big brown eyes captivate you from the moment you lay eyes on him. He’s quite the ladies man too.
Hannah is 14-years-old and all that that implies. Much like her human counterparts, Hannah is a bit of a diva and our resident fashionista. She is arguably the most inquisitive of the bunch and has been known to cause mischief whenever she can. She’s also one of the sweetest of the group and her big expressive facial features make her a one of the most loved.
Connie & Sinbad
Connie is 35-years-old and among the oldest of the orangutans in the bunch. She shares her primadome with Sinbad, our 33-year-old alpha male. Both Connie & Sinbad participate in the orangutan school however, more to learn medical behaviors than anything else. Sinbad was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and needs to receive eye drops frequently. Our trainers have worked with him to be able to give him these drops freely.