STAR-BULLETIN / 2006
Rusti, left, and Violet are enjoying life at Honolulu Zoo.
Rusti the orangutan is happy as a clam
What ever happened to Rusti the orangutan?
Answer: Rusti is enjoying his new home and new life at the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki.
"He's alive and well here. He's very content," said Ken Redman, the zoo's director.
The famous orangutan has bonded with his mate, Violet, and has become comfortable roaming his large zoo enclosure, zoo officials say.
In fact, 27-year-old Rusti enjoys the comforts of his home so much, he has become a little more like a "laid-back retired person," said Redman.
"To give him a little activity, the zoo keepers sometimes hide his breakfast and make him find it," said Redman. "We try to keep him as active as we can."
Rusti's life was not always easy.
Rescued from a private New Jersey zoo with poor living conditions in 1997, he was brought to a temporary home at the Honolulu Zoo. He was to live in a 28-acre sanctuary in Hilo, but plans fell through.
In February 2004, then-Mayor Jeremy Harris announced Rusti's permanent residence at the Honolulu Zoo.
Yet Rusti was alone in a relatively cramped quarters for years. Things started looking up for the orangutan early last year when he was introduced to a mate, Violet, and now they have a much larger new home at the zoo with an 8,000-square-foot main enclosure around a banyan tree.
"They're almost always together. Wherever he goes, she follows. Those two are really close friends," Redman said.
"I don't know if I can find a happier camper than Rusti."
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Brandi Salas.
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