Mari: Featured Orangutan Artists of the Day! #apesthatpaint

Mari was born October 24, 1981

Mari, a pure Sumatran orangutan, came to the Center from a research facility in Georgia where she was part of a language and cognition study.  Mari is a very unusual orangutan in that she has no arms. She lost both her arms while still an infant when her mother, in a very agitated state, damaged her limbs beyond repair. In spite of the accident, Mari is a very capable orangutan. She uses her chin to hoist herself up, uses her feet as we would our hands, and she walks upright (or rolls when she wants to get somewhere quickly). Initially, we were concerned that she might have difficulty maneuvering in a new environment, but she quickly proved us wrong. She moves with such ease and grace that sometimes we forget that she is missing her arms.

Mari and Pongo live together in a habitat with platforms specifically built for Mari’s limitations (not that she needs concessions). When Pongo was an adolescent, but still much larger than Mari, he would retreat into a bucket or tub to get away from the intimidating stare Mari gave him if she wasn’t in the mood for play.

Many mornings, Mari climbs the ladder to the top of her 40-foot tall enclosure using her chin and her feet. She also likes to spend part of the day walking upright through the woods in the chute system.

Great apes, in general, are extremely intelligent animals and need a very stimulating environment when housed in captivity. At the Language Research Center at Georgia State University where Mari spent many years before coming to the sanctuary, Mari worked with lexigrams, mazes, puzzles, and memory tasks. She could even solve computer mazes by manipulating a joystick with her feet, and still enjoys doing that at the sanctuary with a laptop donated specifically for her. Mari is an extremely smart orangutan, and we are always brainstorming to create different activities to keep her challenged and active. Her newest interest is playing on an iPad, generously donated to her from the group, Orangutan Outreach.

Frames USA is hosting a Charity art show featuring the artwork of the apes at the Center for Great Apes.  Due to the success of the opening night, and many requests, we are extending the time that we will be exhibiting the artwork for one more month.  Visit our gallery located at 6822 SW 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155.  We have also made the artwork available online.  Call us for more information:  305-666-3355.  Visit our online store.

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Come to the show and check out the artwork!  Proceeds of the sale of the art pieces go directly to the Center for Great Apes.

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