Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Town Monday: Happy Birthday Janey the Orangutan!

Janey the Bornean Orangutan at the San Diego Zoo (from google images)

Here in San Diego, we are inordinately proud of our zoo. We keep each up to date on zoo news, talking about the animals as though they're friends and neighbors.

"Did you hear Umngani is pregnant again?" (when one of our female elephants was in that condition for the 3rd time)

"Zhen Zhen took her first steps, and she's only 17 weeks." (baby Giant Panda)

"Someone just donated $15 million to the zoo?!" (local businessman Conrad Prebys)

Our current zoo news revolves around our super sociable, super artistic orangutan, Janey. She turned 50 on Friday!

Janey came to us in 1984. Apparently, she lived with Tom Jones, the singer, before that. This sounds only vaguely familiar, so I hope I'm not passing along false info.

Many, many moons ago, when Child #1 was much younger, we used to take picture books to the orangutan exhibit. Janey would amble over to watch Child #1 flip the pages. She's very visitor friendly, and you don't want to miss her if you're visiting our zoo.

Janey's nickname is Janey the Artistse. She loves to draw and paint. Some of her masterpieces have been auctioned off to raise money for the zoo.

Janey the Orangutan presents some of her artwork. (photo credit Vic Murayama,

And a few fun facts about orangutans:

-Orangutans are Great Apes (along with gorillas, chimps, bonobos and gibbons).
-Unlike other apes, orangutans don't live in troops, but are solitary. As a result, children stay longer with their moms (until the age of 8 years) in order to learn the ways of the world.
-Adult orangutans have the same number of permanent teeth as you (32).
-They are intelligent, use tools and have opposable thumbs.
-They are truly arboreal and spend all their time in the forest canopy.
-Females usually only have 3 offspring over the course of their life. Speaking from experience, this is quite wise. There are days when I find 4 quite the handful.
-Orangutans in capitivity live to be abou 59, so presumably we'll be celebrating Janey's birthday for years to come. ;)

Oh, and a bit of word trivia: Swinging from one branch to branch is called...brachiating.

Here's a link to the San Diego Zoo's ape webcam.

I'm this week's hostess. If you toss up a My Town Monday post, let me know here or on the official My Town Monday blog, and I'l set up your link.$15-million-donation,0,5340528.story


  1. The San Diego Zoo is awesome! I visited there for my honeymoon, in '94. I remember seeing Janey. But I didn't know she could paint - way cool! Thanks for sharing this, and the fun orangutan facts!

  2. I love this post! I’m a big fan of Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzees.
    Janey sounds like such a treasure. If I’m ever in San Diego...

  3. Rusty Orang of Honolulu Zoo sends regards

    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    >< } } ( ° >

  4. Happy birthday, Janey!:-)
    I've been to a zoo once or twice before, but I don't remember it because I was young. I'd love to go to that zoo!

  5. Jeannette: Glad that you saw Janey! And thank you for your Dayton, OH post.

  6. Beth: I'm also a Jane Goodall fan. I actually got to see her speak once. Oh, and I assume if you're ever in San Diego, you'll meet up with me. ;)

  7. AbaGayle: You would like the San Diego Zoo. I just know it!

  8. Ah, but Charles, you are much better looking!

  9. have a blast, janey! :)

    [btw, barrie - i'm no longer in halifax, but in the niagara area... when you get to trawna again, lemme know, and i'll try to attend your signing]

  10. That is so cool how attached your town is to your zoo. Here in Wisconsin we had Samson, the gorilla, but really no one since. Imagine having that kind of relationship with a zoo's animals.

  11. I always learn something interesting here. I didn't know orangutan's were loner apes. Janey looks proud of her art. As she should be.

  12. Oh, wow! She paints such great pictures! How cool is that?!? I love your zoo, too, by the way. I've only been there once, but it was fantastic. A litter(???) of cheetahs had just been born. They played and ran and tangled with each other, and had the best time. It was so fun to watch them. I could have stayed for hours, just at that one exhibit.

  13. What a cutie! I didn't know about the 3 baby rule. I wonder how that is enforced naturally. I'm a Jane Goodall fan too.

  14. Janey the Orangutan is nothing short of amazing. Thanks for a wonderful post, Barrie.

  15. Thanks so much for the post. Great read!! Really looking forward to read more. Want more.


Comments are always welcome!