OCCQ OOTM Orangutan of the Month

Maggie is a feisty youngster and won’t let you forget it! If she’s not somersaulting into her playmates than it’s safe to bet she is swinging your way, waiting for just the right opportunity to topple directly on top of you! She only wants to play, of course, and at her tender age, Maggie simply doesn’t seem to fully grasp her own strength. With her charming face, Maggie’s sweet exterior hides a mischievous personality.

It seems very important to Ms. Maggie that she is given the attention and/or treats she feels she deserves. For example, Maggie has an endearing, though naughty, habit of spitting at anyone who walks by her sleeping cage without giving her anything other than a glance in her direction. Now, it’s easy to stay out of range of a young orangutan’s spit, so problem solved, right? Walk further away? Wrong! We’re underestimating our dearest Maggie. With her keen primate depth perception, Maggie recognizes when she cannot spit her saliva-bombs quite far enough to get the reaction she’s hoping for, so she changes her tactics.

2014-09-11_OOTM-for blog_KAB_004_WM2014-09-11_OOTM-for-blog_KAB_005_WM-thumb Obviously, if one is out of spitting-range, it would be rational to assume that one is in the clear. Again, we underestimate our ginger cousin. An orangutan’s arm span is significantly longer than his or her height, and these arms can “pack a punch,” so to speak. Not only are orangutans’ arms unusually long and strong, but they also have features suited to these animals’ tree-dwelling lifestyle. An orangutan has extremely flexible arm and shoulder joints giving them 360o swinging abilities (this is similar to humans, although humans lack the orangutans’ flexible hip joints). This, of course, is a highly advantageous adaptation for tree-dwelling life. Maggie, who’s quite an agile tree-climber during her daytime releases in the play jungle, also employs this brachiating activity to engage her caregivers and visitors. Dearest Maggie will spit a small chunk of fruit into her hand, wait for your back to be turned, and then fling that fruity mess right at the nape of your neck! Her aim seems to be getting better with age!

But fruit bombs should not define Maggie. She only throws fruit when she cannot get your attention. If she has your attention, Maggie is one of the most delightful orangutans at the care center, because she will play and wrestle with you for as long as you would like. She is very gentle and sweet when she is playing. It is this sweetness that is her most endearing characteristic. The assistants very much enjoy playing with Maggie and she tends to be one of their “favorites” although ultimately, all the orangutans are the caregivers’ favorites.

Some of her interesting habits might make Ms. Maggie seem like an odd candidate to be the “Orangutan of the Month.” But it’s exactly that whimsical, fun-loving attitude that makes Maggie an absolute pleasure to be with. With a lust for life, sweet Maggie is the first to entice a shy, fellow orangutan out of her comfort zone and into an intense and exciting match of play fighting. She’s an orangutan with the gift of diffusing tense situations, even when she (and her fruit bombs) are sometimes the root cause of those tumultuous moments in the first place. We all love Maggie and her boisterous, playful temperament.

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