A New Orangutan Brings a Swinging New Mood to The Denver Zoo!


Eirena is an 8-year-old female Sumatran orangutan; a Sumatran orangutan is one of the two species of orangutans that is only found on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. It is one of the rarest orangutans, and it’s name means man, person, or people of the forest, “Orang” meaning man, person, or people and “tang” meaning forest.

Eirena was recently brought from Zoo Dortmund, which is a zoo that is in Germany, to the Denver Zoo, now, Eirena lives happily in her new home in the Primate panoramas Great Apes building, and zoo officials are hoping that Eirena and 14 year old Bernas, who’s nick name is Junie, will soon mate.

We first met with Sean Andersen-Vie, the Public relations person. His job is to get people interested in visiting the zoo and seeing new animals here. Sean has been working at the Denver Zoo for 8 years and went to CU after getting a degree in Journalism. Soon after that Sean had jobs as a T.V. news reporter, a Communications Assistant at the state capital before landing the job at the Denver Zoo. We asked Sean a few questions about his job that included: What do you like most about your Job? Sean answered “Writing about animals and learning different things everyday.” We also asked him what the worst thing about his Job was? Sean answered: “We get a handful of people who think that all zoos are bad, it’s definitely hard to deal with protesters.” After talking to Sean for a little while, he showed us to the Primate house and introduced us to Cindy Cossboon who is a zookeeper for the orangutans. Cindy has been working at the Zoo for 17 years, and went to UCCS or The University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Some things we learned were that Orangutans are not nocturnal, they communicate by hooting, squeaking and other verbal noises, their wingspan is 7 to 9 feet, their hair get’s white on their beards when they get really old, the zookeepers comb their hair, and they come in different shades of orange but only orange, Their main family is just the mom and other siblings if they have them, but then when they are old enough they go off on their own.

This visit was really fun and the orangutans were really funny, swinging, and rolling, and climbing everywhere. I think that everyone should get a chance to enjoy these creatures since they are endangered.

No matter if your in a swinging mood or just looking for something fun! The orangutans will sure give you some entertainment.