Perth Zoo’s seven year-old adolescent male orangutan ‘Nyaru’ took a visit to the vets last week and just like every other child, he was not happy about missing his morning snack in preparation for his anesthetic!

This was the first time Nyaru has had a health check at the veterinary hospital under anaesthetic and although Perth Zoo’s older and more experienced orangutans have been trained to offer their hands for anaesthetic injections, young Nyaru isn’t quite up to this stage so the vets used a dart which lulled him into unconsciousness so he could be checked over from head to toe. As Nyaru grows into a powerful adolescent, developing into a strong male, this was a perfect opportunity for our wildlife veterinarians and his dedicated keepers to do a thorough health check which included taking body measurements, getting a weight on him and checking his eyes and teeth.

We were very excited to see that Nyaru’s throat sack is developing nicely which allows him to practice his long call, a vocal noise made by adult orangutans to mark their territory. Nyaru has been delighting local South Perth residents putting his voice to good use although our alpha-male Hsing Hsing is constantly reminding him who the boss is at Perth Zoo – Australia’s largest orangutan colony!

Whether Nyaru is released back into the wild once he matures, or whether he remains a part of Perth Zoo’s breeding program, this first health check-up will never be forgotten by all staff involved.