Orangutans Sandra and Jethro to be a loving couple at the sanctuary

Posted in 19/08/2020

Sandra swings through her enclosure trying to get Jethro's attention (CGA)

From Center for Great Apes

One of the most well-known orangutan residents at the Center is Sandra who arrived from Argentina last November after a legal court order designated her with nonhuman personhood status. Sandra had lived alone her last ten years in the Buenos Aires zoo, and everyone hoped she would find a companion here among our sanctuary orangutans. Earlier this year, Sandra was introduced to Jethro. While there was no aggression, there was also no contact, and Sandra and Jethro have spent the better part of six months observing each other, but definitely “social distancing”.


When chimpanzees meet each other for the first time, there’s a lot of greetings, loud vocalizations, and hopefully immediate hugs and grooming. But orangutans (who have a more solitary nature socially) are usually reserved when first meeting others. So we let Sandra and Jethro take all the time they needed to feed secure and comfortable with each other.

Finally contact has happened! Sandra now follows Jethro out into the aerial trailways, sits and plays right next to him, makes her nest near him at night…and sometimes wearing a blanket on her head, she twirls in front of him to get his attention, flirt, and just look cute. And, it works! Today, their courtship has progressed quickly to be a loving couple.

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Jethro & Sandra

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