Orangutans remain a happy couple
What ever happened to Rusti and Violet, the orangutans who moved into the Honolulu Zoo's new great-ape enclosure last year -- how are they doing?
Answer: "They're getting along famously," zoo Director Ken Redman said yesterday. "They're really never very far apart from each other" in the 8,000-square-foot habitat surrounding a banyan tree that they have shared since January 2006, he said.
Rusti the orangutan
"They're almost inseparable," Redman said. "In that regard there couldn't be a much happier couple."
It is a partnership that has evolved, zoo keeper Larry Rostrata said.
At times Rusti, age 27, is "really attached to (Violet, age 29), while she really could care less," Rostrata said. "She goes wherever she wants. Violet is very independent."
Since he wants to be close to Violet and has a much bigger cage than before, Rusti is "getting a lot more exercise now," Rostrata said.
A more active lifestyle has slimmed Rusti down to about 300 pounds from his former bulk of 320, Rostrata estimated.
In addition to following Violet around, Rusti sometimes rolls himself like a wheel to keep up with bicycles or carts passing the outside of his cage, Rostrata said.
Violet, meanwhile, might have gained a few pounds but remains close to the svelte 135 pounds she weighed when she moved to Honolulu from the San Diego Zoo.
Although the two orangutans are an affectionate couple, they will never have offspring. Because they are hybrids between the two types of orangutan, Bornean and Sumatran, international zoo breeding policies required both animals to be neutered.
The orangutans remain a popular attraction for zoo visitors, Rostrata said.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Diana Leone.
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