Tuesday, March 8, 2011

ATLANTApix: The Orangutan

Orangutan at Zoo Atlanta
Of the 220 species of animals at Zoo Atlanta, the orangutan is my personal favorite. Why? Well, of scientific interest, they share 97% of their DNA with humans. Physically, they're lanky, yet graceful, especially when swinging (they're the largest tree-dwelling mammal). But, most importantly, behavorially they know how to have fun!

My first exposure to orangutans was the movie "Every Which Way but Loose," starring Clint Eastwood. The movie was filmed in the ski resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which years later I would visit regularly. When I lived in Pinedale, Wyoming, we would drive 99 miles to Jackson Hole to buy groceries once a month (I never tried snow skiing, but love to water ski).

After that, I saw only the occasional orangutan until I moved to Washington, D.C., where there's an incredible open-air habitat for the orangutans (they traverse ropes hanging over the pedestrian walkways!) at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. The "National Zoo" is close to where I lived in Washington, so I was able to visit as often as I wanted.

Atlanta's claim to fame in the orangutan world is that Zoo Atlanta has the largest collection of orangutans on display in the entire United States. And they're a lively group...a must-see during any visit to Zoo Atlanta.

ATLANTApix of the tourATLANTA blog features a "photo-of-the-day" of Atlanta. Come back tomorrow for a new one!

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