It was 106 (no it wasn’t a dry heat!) degrees, but nothing was going to stop me from going to the Phoenix Zoo. I had to see the orangutans. I have a huge soft spot for them. One day, I hope to travel to Borneo and help the Orangutan Foundation International and hopefully hold a baby orangutan. It’s on my bucket list.
In the meantime, all I can do is visit them at the zoo and help to raise awareness of these amazingly beautiful animals who give birth to the cutest animal babies (read on about the palm oil industry and the danger it’s causing them!).
I had gotten to the zoo and bee lined it straight to their section, but I honestly didn’t know they had a baby orangutan. I hadn’t looked it up ahead of time. I was taking pictures of the older orangutans who were mugging for the camera, when my honey said, “Your day is about to get a LOT better.” And that’s where I met Jiwa.
I walked over to wear he was, gasped, covered my mouth because a part of me wanted to scream from excitement. From that point on I just couldn’t stop smiling. His name is Jiwa and he is the baby orangutan at the Phoenix Zoo. While we watched, he climbed the fence, grabbed on with one arm and just let his feet go. As he dangled there, he started to swing back and forth. Then he turned and looked right at us. My eyes got teary. I had seen such adorable photos of these orange babies on the internet, but I had never been close to one before. I had always wanted to be and nothing, not even 106 (hot, disgusting and no, for the final time, it’s NOT A DRY HEAT!) degrees, could stifle my happiness.
If you love these animals as much as I do, or just want to help, please, please go to the Orangutan Foundation International website and do ‘something.’ It’s up to you what you want to do – volunteer to do something (even right from your own home), donate a little, go on a Virgin Traveler trip to Borneo to help, or just blog about it and raise awareness, but most of all PLEASE do not use products that use palm oil. The palm oil industry is destroying the land where these orangutans live (not in Phoenix, but in the wild). It’s the easiest thing you can do to help.
After I had to pry myself away from Jiwa and his mommy, I enjoyed the rest of the zoo. Believe it or not, my honey had never been to a zoo before! So he was having his own Virgin Traveler experience. He saw giraffes, his favorite, zebras and birds and I even got him to ride a camel named Dale! He still talks about that to this day.
It wasn’t very busy at the zoo that day, but I’m sure it had something to do with the heat and the fact that school was back in session. It was a great place to visit though so if you’re in the area, and if you have children, they will love it. I would like to thank the Phoenix Zoo for hosting my visit that day. Jiwa made the top of my list for best things I saw on this trip. I think about that little face so much!
For more information on the Phoenix Zoo, please visit http://phoenixzoo.org/.