Rusti, OFI’s orangutan at the Honolulu Zoo
OFI helped rescue adult male orangutan Rusti in 1997 from a backyard zoo in New Jersey. Conditions at the zoo were less than optimal and provoked year long demonstrations by animal activitists. After OFI took Rusti to Hawaii, the state of New Jersey closed down the zoo.
OFI designed a large enclosure for Rusti at the Honolulu Zoo where he is now on permanent loan. The enclosure is arguably the best orangutan enclosure in the U.S. It is very large with grass underfoot and an old hundred fifty year old fig tree, reminiscent of trees in Rusti’s native habitat, in the center of the enclosure. Rusti was joined by Violet, an adult female from the San Diego Zoo. The two proved to be a very compatible couple. This is one story of a rescued animal that truly had a happy ending!
OFI is currently developing a geographical information system (GIS) to help support orangutan and rain forest conservation efforts in Indonesian Borneo. With support from ESRI and other vendors and professionals, OFI takes information collected from ground level (e.g., orangutan surveys) as well as from space (e.g., satellite data) to produce information rich maps that show vegetative cover and areas where orangutans are located. The GIS program will also look at bringing in other layers of data that will permit OFI and other wildlife and conservation agencies to better prioritize areas for conservation and management based on a spatial assessment of habitat, resources, and disturbance threats.