Orangutans show off their personalities at Indianapolis Zoo

picture of Rocky at the Indianapolis Zoo
Each orangutan at the Indianapolis Zoo's International Orangutan Center has a distinct personality, and no one is like Rocky.  He's a Hollywood veteran, and has rubbed elbows with celebrities.  Now, he's getting used to life with other orangutans and he's pretty excited to have visitors come see him.

If you were to call Rocky a camera hog, he wouldn't mind.  He's used to being the center of attention.  Rocky was raised in the entertainment industry, and loves people.  Rocky isn't full of himself, he just loves the camera, and knows how to put on a show.

John Pilarski, Area Manager of Primates, says, "I like to say he has the best of both worlds, because he has a strong bond with people but he also has wonderful relationships with the other orangutans"

How many other orangutans can say that in a past life they've posed with Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas?

John says, "Anybody that has a camera, he's usually right there in your face, wanting his picture taken.  He's going to be one of the faces of this exhibit and he will make sure you don't miss him."

He's playful with the other orangutans, but is also intrigued by people.  If you snap a picture of Rocky, flip your camera around to show him.

"When you take that photo and you show it to him, he recognizes himself in that photo.  Orangutans do have self recognition.  They understand what they look like and they understand what a mirror means."
Chances are Rocky will work his way into your heart and your photos at the International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Rocky is very close with the orangutan known as Knobi, and they have a strong bond.  Rocky was raised by humans after he was born into the entertainment industry.  That's why he loves the camera.  He did not live with other orangutans until he was three and a half years old.

Knobi taught him how to behave with others, and more importantly, how to just be an orangutan. 

The Orangutan Center opens to the public on Saturday, May 24th.