World's loneliest orangutan does not know how to act like a primate because she has never even SEEN another of her own kind... while zoo visitors encourage her to smoke and force her to eat junk food
- Katarina used to belong to Malaysian royal family but is now dying alone
- She is kept in a miserable zoo with no companion, toys or leafy trees
- 12-year-old doesn't act like an orangutan because she hasn't known others
- Her mother was murdered when she was a baby, now she is on her own
- Campaigners are desperate for her to get a mate as she is suffering so much
She was once the pet of Malaysian royalty but now the loneliest orangutan in the world pines away her days in a miserable zoo with no companion, no toys, no leafy trees and only a concrete block to sleep on.
It is believed Katarina, aged about 12 and about to grow into adulthood, has never seen another orangutan apart from her murdered mother and, says a devoted wildlife activist who is determined to find her a better life, because of her total isolation she thinks she’s the only orangutan in the world.
Alone in her squalid surroundings, she doesn’t know how to behave like an orangutan, unable to exhibit natural behaviours usually displayed in a leafy environment shared with other youngsters.
Visitors throw junk food at her and have been caught trying to force her to smoke a cigarette. She has no bedding and is forced to sit on cold concrete everyday for at least 12 hours after the zoo is closed.
Orangutans were sometimes referred to as the wild men of Borneo by British colonialists, but those days of centuries past were when the jungles were alive with healthy populations of the orange-furred ape.
Katarina, the world's loneliest orangutan peers out through the bars of her night cage in Lipis Zoo, Malaysia. Her concrete sleeping quarters are behind her
Katarina, the world's loneliest orangutan, peers out from the bars of her bleak night cage where she has only a concrete floor to sleep on in Lipis Zoo, Malaysia
Today it is estimated that only 50,000 remain in the wild on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and on Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia.
Their world is dying around them, as trees come down to make way for oil palm plantations and adult apes and babies are hacked to death by workers protecting the planted trees. For those people, hungry orangutans are pests which must be destroyed.
‘Katarina’s mother was without a doubt murdered because that is the only way you are going to get a baby away from an adult orangutan,’ says 33-year-old Upreshpal Singh, director of the Kuala Lumpur-based Friends of the Orangutans, a man who is totally committed to saving the apes as many other welfare groups in his country sit idly by.