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1966

Martha the orangutan arrives at the zoo

By Chester Zoo

On 25 January 1966 George Mottershead received a letter from the Curator and Government Ethnologist, Tom Harrisson to offer a pair of young orangutans to the zoo. The letter stated:

"The particulars of the animals are as follows: 1) the male, Kimbu: received by me on 7.10.64. at 2 1/2lbs weight, estimated age 2 weeks; collected after artillery fire in the Orang area on the Indonesian border, 'dropped' by a frightened or injured mother... 2) the female, 'Martha': received by me on 23.9.65. at 9lbs weight. She had then a complete milk dentition and was therefore estimated at 13 months minimum. She now weighs 12 1/2 lbs."

George responded to the letter, stating: "We will be very pleased to take the two young orangs, Kimbu and Martha and can assure you that they will have every attention."

The two young orangutans arrived at Chester Zoo just before the summer of 1966. And Martha is still at Chester Zoo. She is the oldest orangutan in the UK (2014), and has two daughters, Sarikei and Leia.

See more: Mammals