Christchurch’s Orana Wildlife Park welcomes three new arrivals

Christchurch’s much-loved wildlife park, Orana, has welcomed the highly-anticipated arrival of three orangutans from Auckland Zoo: male Charlie, 37, and two females – Melur, 27 and Wanita, 39.

The three new additions will enjoy a two-year stay at Orana Wildlife Park whilst Auckland Zoo completes a brand new precinct for the animals. Months of planning went into the transfer, ensuring the move was a smooth transition. In the end, it was delayed by twenty four hours due to thick fog at Christchurch airport which prevented the arrival, but all’s well that ends well.

You will be able to visit Charlie, Melur and Wanita in their new enclosure next to the magnificent gorillas in the Great Ape Centre. The addition of orangutans adds significant interest to the park. Within, visitors can observe, study and learn about some of the world’s most impressive primates and outlines ways in which local people can address the threats faced by these amazing animals in their native habitats.

Orana’s Chief Executive, Lynn Anderson, was excited to welcome the orang-utans, describing how despite being tired after their journey south, the animals have settled in well.

“The orangutans are awesome, they are simply stunning animals. It is an absolute privilege and delight for our team to hold these critically endangered, highly intelligent animals. This is the first time orang-utans have ever resided in the South Island.

“The arrival of the orangutans is something very special for our team and of course, local people who we expect will be equally excited to meet these incredible Great Apes” she said.

The ability to facilitate a new home for these primates is due to the new development of the Great Ape Centre. The project was the biggest ever undertaken, and allows for two separate species of Great Ape to be housed at once.