In 1955, 上野動物園 (Ueno Zoo) in Tokyo was given a three-year-old オランウータン (orangutan) named 「モリー」 (“Molly“).
We first saw her at that zoo in the ’90s, when Molly was in her forties. For an orangutan, that age is already elderly.
By the time we first saw Molly she had gone blind in her left eye and she had to use her hand to hold her right eye open in order to see.
My family and I really liked Molly and we visited her every time that we went to the zoo.
But then in 2005 when we went to Ueno Zoo, we were sad to find that Molly‘s cage was empty. As Molly was quite old for an orangutan at that point, we suspected the worst and thought that she had passed away…until we noticed a sign that said Molly had been transferred to 「多摩動物公園」 (“Tama Zoo”).
Tama Zoo is also in Tokyo but it’s in rural western Tokyo where there’s more room, so Tama Zoo is much larger that metropolitan Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
We hadn’t been to Tama Zoo for awhile and we like that zoo a lot. So during 2005’s Golden Week (which, coincidentally, is the week-long holiday period in Japan that happens to started two days ago) we went to Tama Zoo and saw Molly looking happy in the zoo’s large orangutan enclosure.
Well, it was announced in the news that Molly, who was the world’s oldest orangutan, died yesterday (2011 March 30) from old age (she was 59 years and 4 months old).
Rest in peace, Molly.
Here are some photos that I took of her at Tama Zoo in May 2005:
A visitor to my site named Jean Adams emailed me this wonderful picture of Molly that she drew after seeing a photo of Molly in her local newspaper in England:
Since Molly has passed away, now the current oldest orangutan in the world is now a 57 year old female named “Gypsy” who also lives at Tama Zoo in Tokyo.
She likes to look through fashion magazines! :)