Adopted Zoo Animals: Bumi and Athena

Meet Bumi, a Bornean Orangutan who resides at the Topeka Zoo and is one of Library staff’s adopted animals!  Bumi was born at the Zoo and will soon celebrate his first birthday on February 25.

Bumi Bornean OrangutanHow much do you know about Bornean Orangutans?

–Orangutans live in the tropical rainforest on the Southeast Asian Islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They are the largest tree-dwelling animal in the world and tend to be more solitary than chimps, bonobos and gorillas.  In Malay, “orang utan” means “person of the forest” and Bumi means “Earth.”

–Female orangutans have a gestation period of 8 1/2 to 9 months and produce a single offspring.  They give birth about once every 8 years.  The young stays with its mother for 6-7 years, the longest maternal dependency of all animals.  They may live in their natural habitat 35-45 years.

–Bumi will develop large cheek pads when he is about 15 years old.  Males have a large throat sac that enables them to make long calls.

–Orangutans feed primarily on forest fruits such as jackfruits, mangos and figs as well as leaves and shoots. The wild orangutan’s habitat on Borneo is severely threatened, and their conservation status is endangered.  In many areas the natural forest environment is being cleared and substituted with palm oil and timber plantations.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. imports of palm oil more than doubled between 2005 and 2012. Last year we imported about 2.7 billion pounds (source: USDA and

Athena, a Great Horned Owl, is our other adopted Zoo animal. Athena will make an appearance during the afternoon Zoo Animals Live program at the Library on February 6.  The program starts at 4:00 p.m. and everyone is welcome to come and learn more about this powerful bird of prey.

Here are some facts about the magnificent Great Horned Owl:

–Great Horned Owls reside year round in Kansas.  They are usually nocturnal hunters–most active at dawn and dusk–and subsist on a diverse diet, capturing birds and small mammals with their lethal talons.  Sight and hearing are their primary senses.  The “ears” are really tufts of feathers that help with camouflage.  Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their head 180 degrees.

–Females are larger than males.  A pair will nest once per year in January or February. Both male and female may incubate the clutch of 2-3 eggs.  Families associate until the fall when they typically separate.

–The Great Horned Owl is found throughout North America and in some regions of South America.  Their conservation status is stable and they are protected by federal law in the U.S.

Athena Great Horned Owl

(sources: and the Topeka Zoo)


Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, in addition to Reference work I promote the Travel, Pets, and Lawn & Garden Neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. My interests include exploring new travel destinations, National Parks, Alaska, hiking trails in Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas, birding, Sandhill crane migration, Monarch waystations, Kansas native plants, citizen science activities, volunteer work as a certified Kansas Master Naturalist, and reading essays about the natural environment. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.