Sibu's king of the swingers at new Dublin Zoo home

Riona (10) and Mujur (11) kiss each other at Dublin Zoo at the opening of the new Orangutan Forest Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Alan O'Keeffe

Sibu the Orangutan is climbing to new heights in a new €3m habitat opened at Dublin Zoo.

The Orangutan Forest consists of huge life-like trees built with hidden mechanisms which encourage the four resident orangutans to climb up to 12 metres high to the tree tops to get their daily food.

Many of the impressive trees are on a new 80 metres-long island constructed in a lake.

Sibu (35) and his mate Leonie (35) delighted crowds at the zoo yesterday when they shimmied across ropes high above the footpaths to reach their new island playground.


"This wonderful new habitat will add complexity to their lives and stimulate their natural behaviours," said Dublin Zoo's director Leo Oosterweghel.

"They will be able to live more like orangutans in the wild."

The new habitat, inspired by the tropical rainforests of Borneo, is five times bigger than their old home in the zoo.

It was officially opened by Ruth Breen (11), on behalf of the children of Ireland. Ruth won a poetry competition which promoted awareness of orangutans.

She travelled with her family from Inchiholohan House, Kells Road, Kilkenny, and her classmates from Burnchurch National School for the opening event today.

Ruth recited her winning poem before unveiling a special plaque with zoo president Tom Dunphy.

Zoo team leader Ciaran McMahon said food is placed in remote-control mechanisms to carry it to the tops of the trees. The zoo has launched a fundraising drive to help protect orangutans in the wild where they are endangered by deforestation.

The public can text 'Save' to 50300 to donate €2.