Happy Birthday, Rudi! North America’s oldest male orangutan turns 45

Happy Birthday, Rudi Valentino! The Houston Zoo’s male orangutan turns 45 today (Houston Zoo)

HOUSTON – Happy Birthday, Rudi Valentino!

The Houston Zoo’s male orangutan turned 45 on Thursday!

Rudi is the oldest male orangutan in North America, and also the zoo’s longest resident, arriving at the Houston Zoo back in 1978 when he was only two months old.

On Thursday, he rotated on exhibit with other orangutans and spent time with Kelly, one of our female orangutans.

Rudi stands about 5′4″ and his arm span is 8′ 2″.

For his birthday, the zoo said his animal care team will give him his favorite treats and sing happy birthday to him.

“Rudi loves to play with his keepers and will call over and twitch his hand, which is his most obvious playful sign,” says primate keeper, Miriam Gordon. “He will grab a piece of browse and poke at keepers and try to touch them. If he touches you, the best thing to do is act super dramatically and fall over. Rudi LOVES to do this and will keep poking at keepers and watching them closely.”

The Houston Zoo saves orangutans in the wild by providing support for local communities to replant forests in Borneo. Guests can do their part to save wild orangutans by using recycled paper products. They need trees to live, and by using less paper or recycled-content paper products, fewer trees are cut down.


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