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The life and times of the zoo's most famous resident

Since 1971, Ah Meng had charmed visitors to the zoo, hobnobbed with celebrities and even received a special tourism ambassador award.

Sat, Feb 09, 2008
The Straits Times

Since 1971, Ah Meng had charmed visitors to the zoo, hobnobbed with celebrities and even received a special tourism ambassador award.

  • 1971: The zoo's most famous resident, Ah Meng the orang utan, is taken from a couple who were keeping her as a pet in their kampung house.
  • April 1975: Ah Meng gives birth to a male named Hsing Hsing, her first offspring.
  • August 1978: Zoo visitor throws a sharp metal or wooden object at Ah Meng, leaving a gash on her cheek.
  • July 1980: She gives birth to Medan, a female offspring.
  • March 1982: During the shooting of a promotional video, Ah Meng spends two nights up a tree (left) at MacRitchie Reservoir. She refuses to come down after the shoot is over and instead climbs higher. On her way down, she slips and falls seven storeys, breaking her right arm.
  • 1982: The zoo introduces the Breakfast With An Orang Utan programme, with Ah Meng as its star.
  • February 1983: Hong Bao, another female offspring, is born.
  • October 1985: Ah Meng is mobbed by a crowd of 400 during her 21st birthday party.
  • August 1989: During her second month of pregnancy, zoo keepers notice her bleeding. She is given an ultrasound by specialists from Thomson Medical Centre and National University Hospital, but has a miscarriage.
  • April 1989: Pusung, an 11-year-old Sumatran orang utan from Perth, arrives as a mate for Ah Meng.
  • November 1989: Ah Meng dines with Tanya Evans from Melbourne, Australia. The dying 11-year-old had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
  • July 1990: She gives birth to a fourth offspring, Sayang, a female.
  • September 1991: Ah Meng becomes a grandmother when her second-born, 10-year-old Medan, gives birth to son Kamal.
  • September 1992: Ah Meng, jealous that her keeper is paying attention to a research student, attacks the visitor. The student, a Frenchwoman, is at the zoo to study orang utan behaviour.
  • March 1992: Ah Meng receives a Special Tourism Ambassador award from the then-Singapore Tourist Promotion Board at the Westin Stamford. It was a one-time award specially created for her. She receives a certificate and a stack of bananas.
  • September 1993: Ah Meng is among six orang utan having a romp with Michael Jackson at the Raffles Hotel pool.
  • December 1996: Satria, her fifth offspring is born
  • July 2005: Ah Meng is mated with 28-year-old Charlie
 
 
 
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