35 to 40 years in the wild
Up to 60 years under human care
Up to 60 years under human care
Also leaves, barks, flowers and insects
Arboreal, lives in trees
Parts of Borneo and Sumatra
Ah Meng was our own homegrown celebrity. She came to Singapore Zoo at the tender age of seven and rose to stardom in the 1980s as the gracious host of our “Breakfast with Orangutan”. She became the first and only animal to be conferred the ‘Special Tourism Ambassador’ award. Everyone who has rubbed shoulders with Ah Meng has a story to tell.
When she passed on in 2008, 4,000 people turned up to pay their final respects. Our yearly Safari Zoo Run is dedicated in her memory. Ah Meng’s grand daughter Ishta has been named the new Ah Meng for her resemblance to her grandmother.
Ah Meng was named by the Chinese family that had kept her illegally.
One of our impressive Sumatran male orangutans, Charlie was probably named so as a British school had sponsored him while he was at Malaysia’s national zoo.
Anita, one of our senior female orangutans, was named after singer Anita Sarawak, who donated her to our zoo.
Galdikas carries the name of famed primatologist Dr Birute Galdikas, and is the father of Ishta, the new Ah Meng.
When Ishta was younger, her mother Sayang fell sick and was unable to care for her. In a show of kinship, rarely seen in orangutans, Chomel adopted Ishta and cared for her like one of her own. At around the same time, Anita also adopted Endah, Ishta’s sister.
Ah Meng was known to adopt the orphaned young of other females and it is possible this is a learnt behaviour that Chomel and Anita had picked up from her.
Our orangutans are notoriously picky about the company they keep. They form lifetime bonds with their keepers, to the point of possessiveness. Even our grande dame, Ah Meng, lost her cool when her lifetime caretaker, Sam, was seen getting too chummy with a French lady researcher.
As a rule of thumb, junior keepers work alongside orangutans for a minimum of two years before they attain the level of trust necessary to bring the primates out for visitor interactions.
Ever wondered what's it like to have breakfast with orangutans? Our award-winning and first-of-its-kind dining experience is an eye-opener as well as an unforgettable photo opportunity with not one but an entire family of orangutans!
Jungle Breakfast with Wildlife takes place daily at the terrace of Ah Meng Restaurant. Please note that animal appearance is only from 9.30am to 10.00am, and last seating for the buffet is at 10.00am.
*Ages 6 to 12
Only 20 seats available per day
Learn more about our wildlife from the people who know best – the keepers. In this interactive session, hear interesting quirks of the animals from our keepers.
Both the Sumatran and Bornean orangutans are critically endangered – the latter was reclassified recently, from endangered status to reflect the magnitude of threats from habitat loss and illegal hunting. Managing orangutan populations in zoos ensures the survival of the species. It also allows members of the public to appreciate and learn more about them, and hopefully with emotional connection, comes the desire to protect these `men of the forest’. Join 14,000 other voters to support orangutan conservation.