Phoenix Zoo welcomes 14-year-old Rayma to its orangutan family

Apr 8, 2019, 2:00 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2019, 3:37 pm

(Facebook Photo/Milwaukee County Zoo)...

(Facebook Photo/Milwaukee County Zoo)

(Facebook Photo/Milwaukee County Zoo)

PHOENIX – The Valley has a new Midwest transplant, and she’s a descendant of royalty.

A Bornean orangutan named Rayma arrived at the Phoenix Zoo last week from Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County Zoo, which called her “sweet, gentle” and “curious” in a farewell Facebook post.

The Phoenix Zoo said Rayma will be given time to acclimate behind the scenes before entering the orangutan habitat in view of visitors. (Update: Rayma has been venturing into the habitat, mostly in the afternoon, the zoo said April 15.)

A Milwaukee keeper made the trip with Rayma to help her adjust to her new surroundings.

“We are so excited for her to come and meet Daniel,” Mary Yoder, Phoenix collection manager of primates, said in a social media video before the move.

Daniel is the zoo’s 12-year-old male orangutan, who has been without a companion since October 2017, when 11-year-old Kasih died from a brain disease.

Yoder said that Rayma, who turned 14 on Friday, one day after her big move, is the great granddaughter of Duchess, a Phoenix Zoo legend.

Duchess was one of the zoo’s original animals when it opened in 1962. She was believed to be the oldest orangutan in captivity when she died of cancer at age 52 in 2012.

Rayma joins Daniel, Michael, Bess and Jiwa in the Phoenix orangutan clan.

Bess, a daughter of Duchess, celebrated her 40th birthday last month. Rayma is Bess’ grandniece.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Bornean orangutans are critically endangered, with their population declining by more than 50% over the past 60 years.

The decline is attributed mainly to the species losing more than half of its natural habitat on the Southeast Asian island of Borneo in the past 20 years.

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Phoenix Zoo welcomes 14-year-old Rayma to its orangutan family