Orangutans Have Cage Turned Into Climbing Paradise

Orangutans from an Austrian zoo had a great surprise after being locked up in the warm for the winter, after they were greeted with the sight of a brand-new climbing garden when they were finally allowed back outside.

Orangutans Mota, Sol, Surya and Vladimir were given the exciting new play area as a gift by the Austrian Federal Forests (OBf) who started working on it and planning the project in January.

Despite the lockdown, zoo authorities and employees from the Austrian Federal Forests used the cold winter months to cart and set up oak and locust trees (Robinia) to build a new outdoor area which the apes can conquer.

The trees, which were estimated to weigh several tons each, were taken from the Mannersdorf Nature Park located in the Austrian state of Lower Austria.

Zoo Director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck said: “In their natural habitat, on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, orangutans live in primaeval forests, mainly in the treetops.

“We have created a new natural climbing garden for them – with nests as resting places that are even shaded and cooled with a special fog system.”

Female orangutan Sari from the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in the city of Vienna in Austria. (Norbert Potensky/Newsflash)

In addition, ropes with a total length of 800 meters were attached between the trees which are up to 13 metres tall.

These sap-rich trees were harvested by the Austrian Federal Forests in January when they were still in dormancy and according to Rudolf Freidhager who is a board member at the OBf who added that “the twelve trees had to be strong, vigorous, widely branched and with thick branches”.

He said: “This is why we are dealing with oaks and Robinia, which are particularly robust and hard and can withstand the strength of the great apes.”

These trees which enable a real-life climbing area due to their wide crowns are also used in shipbuilding, and even for playground construction and furniture design.

According to the forestry officials, the heaviest crown of all 12 trees implemented in the garden weighs 3,5 tons.

The trees were harvested using a cable pull in order to prevent crown damage and enable a pleasant climbing environment for the orangutans.

Zookeeper Nico Cabon stated that the orangutans were very enthusiastic about their new playground and added: “Sol and Sari were the most curious ones. They were the first to try out the new climbing ropes and tree trunks. Now the others are exploring what there is to climb.”

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