Visitors to the museum from 16 Feb 2016 will notice a new resident in our atrium. The large male orangutan, unofficially dubbed “Ah Beng”, who is on long-term loan from the Science Centre Singapore, will now mingle with visitors before they enter our gallery. Ah Beng’s nickname came after countless inquiries if he is the iconic late female Sumatran orangutan, Ah Meng, from the Singapore Zoo.
Some have asked why the sullen expression on Ah Beng’s face. We think his facial expression, and his new visible position is apt as it highlights the fact that Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are threatened with extinction. The threats they face are from habitat loss (mainly from conversion of forest to oil palm), fires, hunting, and the illegal pet trade.
Ah Beng is already a hit with some of our staff and visitors. Perhaps, the next time when you have a photo with Ah Beng, you can help share these tidbit facts, and advocate more sustainable lifestyle choices for the sake of orangutans.