Surabaya | A zoo keeper at Indonesia’s Surabaya zoo has been arrested and charged with sexual assault on a number of animals and even, strangely enough, of impregnating a female orangutan, reports the Kalimantan Press this morning.
The 38-year-old zoo keeper was filmed in full action by a series of hidden cameras put in place by the zoo’s security officials after doubts emerged about the man’s devious actions towards the zoo animals.
“Some animals seemed sexually aroused when it was time to feed them” explains Akhiroel Yahya, employee of the zoo for 14 years.
“But what made us most suspicious was when we discovered Marylin, our oldest orangutan, was pregnant. She has never been in contact with any other orangutans because of her aggressive nature, so it didn’t make any sense” he acknowledges, visibly troubled by the news.
A “total mystery”
The zoo officials admit it took them sometime before being able to explain what had actually happened.
“At first, we clearly did not comprehend what had happened,” admits the zoo’s director, Abdoel Hakim. “Marilyn has been secluded for the past 10 years, it was a total mystery,” he acknowledges.
“It is only when we placed several hidden cameras that we learned the horrible truth” he admits, visibly angered by the whole situation.
Consensual acts of “kindness”
When confronted by local authorities, the offender denied any wrong doing on his part.
“He said everything he had done was consensual,” explains police chief Abubakar Jaar. “He said he loved each and everyone of the animals and was very sorry he had impregnated the orangutan,” he told local reporters.
“He says he did not know orangutans could get pregnant from humans,” he added.
A rare “genetic predisposition”
If many experts believe the man could not have impregnated the female orangutan, some specialists claim a rare genetic predisposition could explain the unexplainable.
“Contrary to popular belief, the orangutan species is much closer to the human species than chimpanzees. We share practically the same DNA code, with only minute differences, which could explain the orangutan falling pregnant from this man” explains Paleobiologist Bachtiar Pado Panghulu, of the University of Jakarta.
“Particularly in Indonesia, the genetic profile of some of the population is extremely close to the orangutan species, leading us to believe they’re might have been a common ancestor to both species only a few hundred thousand years ago,” he admits.
Surabaya zoo, Indonesia’s largest zoo, repeatedly made headlines in 2012 because of its scandalous treatment of its animals after a former employee of the zoo claimed that over 50 animals had died at the zoo during the three months since he had been hired.