MIAMI – Bella is Zoo Miami’s resident 9-year-old orangutan who since the death of her mother last year has been the only orangutan at the zoo.
That changed yesterday with the arrival of “Jiwa,” a young male from the Phoenix Zoo that Zoo Miami hopes will become Bella’s first “boyfriend.”
Zoo Miami officials said Bella has adjusted to being independent, but the plan for her has always been to pair her with a mate. The eventual goal would be for her to contribute to the carefully managed population of endangered orangutans under human care.
As it turns out, the orangutan species survival plan has recommended that Bella, now 9, be paired with a 7-year-old male named Jiwa, who is from the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona.
The SSP serves as a “computer dating service” to pair up animals that are genetically best suited to produce the healthiest offspring.
On Thursday, Jiwa was placed on a special FedEx flight accompanied by a staff member from the Phoenix Zoo and was transferred to Zoo Miami where he was brought to the Orangutan area and will remain in quarantine for approximately 30 days.
Once Jiwa clears quarantine, the zoo will begin introducing him to Bella. Research shows that their genetics say they are well suited for each other biologically.
However, experts stress that there is no guarantee that they will like each other and become a successful couple.