We’re excited to let you know that earlier today Auckland Zoo welcomed the arrival of beautiful 11-year-old female Bornean orangutan Daya from Ouwehands Zoo in The Netherlands.

Daya’s relocation to New Zealand follows a recommendation from the species coordinator for the European Association of Zoos & Aquaria’s breeding and advocacy programme for this highly intelligent and Critically Endangered great ape.

Now at the age of dispersal but still young, once matured Daya (whose name means power, energy, and strength in Indonesian) will have the opportunity to breed with the Zoo’s male Charlie – recognised as very genetically valuable to the international programme.

Our primate team is delighted that one of Daya’s long-term keepers from Ouwehand’s, primate specialist Monique de Wit, has also travelled to New Zealand and will be here for the next few weeks working alongside them. A reassuringly familiar face, Monique will be invaluable in helping to settle Daya in and will work closely with the Zoo’s primate keeper Grace, who will become one of Daya’s primary carers.

It’ll be a little while before you see Daya in our South East Asia Jungle Track high canopy habitat. Her first 30 days (as required for all new animal arrivals from overseas) will be in quarantine, which for Daya will be in a facility within our veterinary hospital complex.

Keeper Grace says after quarantine, decisions on her integration with the rest of the Zoo’s orangutan group (Charlie, Melur and her young son Bahmi) will be guided by the behaviours of both Daya and the group.

Monique, who has cared for and worked with Daya for all her 11 years and has been integral to preparing her for her move to Auckland, says Daya is a very lovely natured, quite shy, and “in a good way”, sensitive orangutan.

“Everything will be new to Daya at first, and it will naturally take her some time to properly settle in, but she is coming to a really wonderful environment in the high canopy habitat, and into a programme that is very similar to ours, and I think she’s going to love it!”

Did you know?

Auckland Zoo has been supporting the conservation of orangutans in the wild for more than 20 years – which you help contribute to every time you visit! It’s through this help and support to our partners - the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and the Sumatran Ranger Project, that some impactful and positive outcomes for the wild cousins of orangutans like Charlie, Melur, Bahmi, and now Daya, are being achieved – so thank you!

Photography credit: Johanna Kok.