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Phoenix Zoo to hold 40th birthday party for Bess the orangutan

(Phoenix Zoo Photo/John Quoyawayma)

PHOENIX — One of the Phoenix Zoo’s orangutans will soon be 40 years old.

The zoo describes birthday girl Bess, a Bornean orangutan and mother of two, as “shy, sensitive and very adept at solving problems and puzzles.”

Guests can participate in her birthday activities on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The festivities include signing a giant card, registering to win a birthday party at the zoo, learning about orangutans from zoo guides and watching the orangutans play with a birthday cake.

Guests can also bring Bess a birthday gift from the zoo’s wish list, which includes chalk, paint, blocks and low-sodium spices.

Bess was born at the zoo on March 26, 1979, to Duchess, who died of cancer in 2012 at age 52.

Bess’ 4-year-old son Jiwa is also on exhibit.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Bornean orangutans are considered critically endangered, and according to National Geographic, they can live up to 60 years in captivity.

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