Million-dollar home for orangutan couple to be established at Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

A new and luxurious home for an orangutan couple will be inaugurated next year at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo after American philanthropist John Shapiro announced that he will fund the establishment of a new facility for the endangered species under the Jerusalem Foundation.
A million-dollar home for orangutans Photo Credit: Shai Ben-Ami / Channel 2 News

The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo was excited to hear the good news today (Thursday), as American philanthropist and President of the Global Jewish Advocacy group AJC John Shapiro announced that he will be funding the construction of a home for an orangutan couple, a species that is severe in danger of extinction.

“Shapiro asked us how he could contribute to the place and we asked him to donate to the orangutans, who are considered a severely endangered species,” explained Director-General of the Biblical Zoo Shai Doron. “Shapiro asked how many monkeys we need and we explained that we will not be taking any monkeys until they have a proper home that meets their needs. Shapiro was up to the challenge.”

A severely endangered species Photo Credit: Shai Ben-Ami / Channel 2 News

The home that is planned for the new couple includes two large courtyards, a patio, a bedroom, ropes and columns for climbing and a range of furniture, as befits such highly intelligent animals like orangutans. The lucky couple that will be awarded the new home will be flown to Israel after the construction is completed, which is expected to be towards the end of 2017.

“We will only know who the new residents will be in a couple of weeks,” Doron explained. “The orangutans will be housed here as part of a global project to protect the species that is becoming extinct in its own habitat in Indonesia. We must ensure that the couple we bring differs genetically so they can raise healthy offspring when the time comes. This is a complicated process that is organized once a year by the World Association of Zoos and is nothing short of a huge matchmakers’ office.”

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