Eloise, a Bornean orangutan, at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens will celebrate her 50thbirthday on Saturday, November 10th. She is a special girl and a special needs orangutan. You can see that she gets around the exhibit in her own special way. It seems that she suffered oxygen deprivation when the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck at birth, before she was discovered and rescued. This has not stopped her because she is now the oldest Bornean female orangutan in the United States. The last oldest was a female named Maggie who died at 54 at the Chicago Zoo two years ago. The oldest of all that we know of in a zoo was a female Sumatran orangutan named Puan at the Perth Zoo – she died at the age of 62 this year. Orangutans usually live from 35 to 40 and have some of the same problems as humans such as heart disease.
Eloise was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1968 to Sally one of the Zoo’s first orangutan residents. Eloise has had several babies and a daughter named Rosie still shares the exhibit. Besides the problems described above Eloise has arthritis and gets regular physical therapy. She had to be trained to present her feet for massages by offering her the treats she loves – such as grapes and yogurt and now she regularly looks forward to this attention.