Orangutans in Popular Culture
Orangutans are nothing new when it comes to the culture around us. They are found in many zoos, books, movies, and more. In fact, this is what often gives the impression to people that these cute animals would make wonderful pets. They are in reality though wild animals even though they are very intelligent and can be trained.
Most people loved the combination of Clint Eastwood and his orangutan in the film Any Which Way but Loose. For the younger crowds the show Dunston Checks In portrays this orangutan as a great friend to a couple of kids. They have to try to keep the ape from creating complete chaos in the hotel they are in though.
In the Disney production of Jungle Book the orangutan is called Louie. His is a very wise and important member of this group of animals. Another cartoon that was famous for its orangutan was Wild Thornberries with the ape called Darwin. In this cartoon a young girl and her family explore the wild so her parents can film the animals for a TV show. The girl is able to talk to animals though and Darwin helps to keep the young girl out of trouble on her various adventures.
In that same cartoon, a young boy named Donnie is found living with orangutans. He is taken in by the Thornberry family. He acts in many ways like apes due to the upbringing.
In 1968 the long running show Planet of the Apes was introduced. It was a fantastic spin on things with the apes being in charge and humans being their subject of study. Many found this show to be controversial. However, others found the message it sent out to be quite intriguing given the many things in common of humans and apes. This series also was turned into a couple of full length films as well.
There are several orangutans in captivity that have captured their share of the spotlight as well. One that lived in a zoo in Singapore from 1971 to 2008 was Ah Meng. She was taken to the zoo after it had been learned she was kept as a pet illegally for more than a decade. She was very charismatic and brought tons of visitors to the zoo. She loved to show off for people and was considered by the staff to be one of the most intelligent animals they had ever had the opportunity to work with.
Ken Allen is another one that drew large crowds at his home at the San Diego Zoo. He died in 2000. This orangutan was able to take just about anything apart. He was often called an escape artist. He had to be closely watched as he would even take bolts out of fences and other materials to gain his freedom. He would get out and mingle among the visitors at the zoo. He never hurt anyone and could even be taken by the hand and walked to zoo officials after such events.
Due to the great response that baby orangutans get, they are often used in commercials too. Various types of products out there have been successfully promoted using these animals performing a variety of story lines to get people to take notice. Even the online site Ask.com has been known to use them. There is no denying that people respond well to orangutans and so they continue to be used in various ways throughout our culture.