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Happy Birthday, Rudi Valentino!

Happy Birthday, Rudi Valentino! Our male orangutan turns 45 today and also happens to be the oldest male orangutan in North America. He came to the Houston Zoo back in 1978, when he was just over two months old. Today, he rotates on exhibit with our other orangutans and spends time with Kelly, one of our female orangutans. He stands about 5 feet 4 inches and his arm span is 8 feet 2 inches.

Rudi pictured here with a bandana draped over his head – one of his favorite items.

For his birthday, his animal care team will give him his favorites treats and sing happy birthday to him! He enjoys all the attention from his keepers, bandanas, and foraging for treats.

Rudi Valentino, arrives to the Zoo, at a little over two months old.
A Zoo staff member bottle feeds Rudi.
Close-up photo by Keeper Miriam.

A favorite memory one of his keepers, Miriam, shared is, “Rudi loves to play with his keepers and will call over and twitch his hand, which is his most obvious playful sign. He will grab a piece of browse and poke at keepers and try to touch them. If he touches you, the best thing to do is act super dramatically and fall over. Rudi LOVES to do this and will keep poking at keepers and watching them closely.”

The Houston Zoo saves orangutans in the wild by providing support for local communities to replant forests in Borneo. Guests can do their part to save wild orangutans by using recycled paper products. They need trees to live, and by using less paper or recycled-content paper products, fewer trees are cut down.