The legacy of Singapore Zoo’s most iconic resident, Ah Meng, continues to grow with the recent birth of her first great grandson earlier this year. Chomel, Ah Meng’s granddaughter, gave birth to the male Orangutan on 31 Jan at about 4.20am. Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is inviting Singaporeans to pick his name via an online voting system on Facebook.
The Zoology team at the Singapore Zoo has shortlisted four names for the newborn and is asking members of the public to choose their favourite. The names are:
1. Ah Boy: A common term of endearment for many boys at home in Singapore
2. Bino: Meaning ‘Brave’ in Bahasa Indonesia
3. Terang: Meaning ‘Bright’ in Malay
4. Xing Xing: In Chinese, this means both ‘star’ and ‘ape
The contest on the WRS Facebook page is open to everyone who is a fan of the page. Voting will end 31 March 2011 and the name which earns the most number of ‘likes’ on Facebook will be the chosen name for the baby Orangutan.
The little orang utan made his public debut in February during Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife with mother Chomel, and will make regular appearances at this special wildlife breakfast programme. Singapore Zoo, operated by WRS which also runs other award-winning parks such as the Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, and the upcoming river-themed attraction River Safari, is the only zoo in the world that offers this unique dine-with-wildlife experience, which allows visitors to get up close to animals like Orangutan and snakes during a breakfast buffet.
In celebration of the baby orang utan’s appearance on Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife, one child dines for free with every two paying adults from now until 20 March 2011.
The newborn is the 36th orang utan and the fourth descendant of Ah Meng to be born at Singapore Zoo. Keepers say he is a very amiable and expressive baby, and always looks like he has a smile on his face.
A total of 26 of these charismatic apes live at the zoo and are displayed as a large social group in a spacious naturalistic enclosure. Singapore Zoo is the first zoo in the world to create free-ranging areas for these arboreal creatures to swing, climb and play. These exhibits comprise tall trees, thick branches, abundant foliage and vines which replicate the animals’ natural environment.
There are two species of Orangutan – Bornean and Sumatran. The population of Bornean Orangutan is estimated at 55,000 while there are only 7,500 Sumatran Orangutan left in the wild, making this species critically endangered. Ah Meng was a female Sumatran Orangutan utan that was smuggled illegally into Singapore and given a home at the Singapore Zoo in 1971. She lived to a ripe old age of 48 (or approximately 95 orang utan years) and was the first to host the Zoo’s Breakfast with Ah Meng programme.