Picture bride to join Rusti at the zoo
The San Diego Zoo describes Violet as its prettiest orangutan
Rusti the orangutan will have a female companion -- "known as the prettiest of the orangutans" at the San Diego Zoo -- when he moves into his spacious new enclosure at the Honolulu Zoo next month.
Violet: She was once considered a good match for Rusti
Rusti: His new enclosure is designed to house two orangutans
The companion, Violet, also "loves fresh oranges, sunbathing on her favorite rock, and socializing with her friends, Indah and Satu," according to that zoo's Web site.
Violet is owned by the San Francisco Zoo, but has lived at the San Diego Zoo since 1995.
"She is known to snooze in the grass and enjoys showing off with little hide-and-seek antics ... (and) was the star pupil in her training program," her San Diego biography concludes.
Violet will turn 28 years old in November, by which time she should be living in the Honolulu Zoo's new 8,168-square-foot orangutan enclosure, which is built around a banyan tree.
Rusti is 25 and has lived "temporarily" at the Honolulu Zoo since 1997. Last year, the city committed to sharing the cost of a new home for Rusti with his owner, the Orangutan Foundation International, and private donors.
The roomy cage, which was designed to house two orangutans and includes a day room and two sleeping quarters, is essentially complete, Honolulu Zoo Director Ken Redman said yesterday. A few "punch list" details will be finished in the next two weeks, and Violet is expected to move in by the end of the month, he said.
This is the same Violet that was earlier considered as a match for Rusti by the international committee that decides where moving captive orangutans should go. Back in August, they said Violet would be going to the Birmingham, Ala., Zoo.
Just recently, the committee reversed its decision and decided to let Violet come to Honolulu, Redman said. That Violet gets along better with male orangutans than female ones may have been a key factor.
Violet is getting pre-travel health screenings now and is expected to be on a flight to Honolulu by the end of the month, Redman said.
She will live in the orangutan habitat alone for a 30-day quarantine period, after which Rusti will move in.
Rusti's and Violet's new orangutan habitat was built by Reedesign Builders Inc. at a cost of $665,000.
Both Violet and Rusti are hybrids of the two species of orangutan, Bornean and Sumatran, both of which are endangered. They will not have offspring because the zoo managers have decided not to allow hybrid orangutans to reproduce.