Return of Kama´s son

Director´s view

Miroslav Bobek  |  27. 07. 2015

I was in the zoo for less than a week when young male orangutan Pagy swung on an overgrown branch and got into the visitors' space in the Indonesian Jungle pavilion. During a panic attempt to return he fell into the water moat and there is no doubt that it was only the quick action of his keeper that saved him from drowning.

Pagy. The orangutan teenager who left Prague five years ago grew to become a fully adult male in Bratislava Zoo. Photo Kateřina Jíšová Pagy. The orangutan teenager who left Prague five years ago grew to become a fully adult male in Bratislava Zoo. Photo Kateřina Jíšová

When several months later Pagy and his brother Filip were leaving for Bratislava, it was hard for me to say good bye - and I certainly did not anticipate that he could ever come back. But good fortune together with my colleagues´ efforts enabled us to bring Pagy back from Bratislava to Prague last Friday, after five years. It is a true return of a lost son, who will ensure that Kama´s line continues in Prague.

The famous Kama was born in Prague Zoo in 1971 as the very first orangutan born in Czechoslovakia. His parents were Bimbo and Soňa, who originated from the wild in Sumatra. Probably the fact that his mother Soňa had been living with humans since her early childhood was the reason why she was not able to take care for little Kama. Her role was taken over by the keepers, especially Božena Gottfriedová. They were very affectionate when taking care of him. Oldtimers recall how Mrs Gottfriedová carried Kama around the Zoo in a child´s pram. From this experience Kama´s fascination with women with large breasts originated.

Except for two several-year-long periods Kama has spent his life in Prague. As a baby in the mid 1970s he spent some time in Rostock and between 1999 and 2004 he lived in Hodonín and later in Dvůr Králové. This second stay out of Prague was necessary while the Indonesian Jungle Pavilion was being built at the place of the old monkey pavilion. Kama had already made this trip with his partner Upita. And it was in Hodonín where Upita delivered Filip on 27 March 2000. But the management of the Zoo rushed to separate the baby from the mother and the threat that Filip, dressed like a human baby and carried around in a pram by people, would not get a chance to develop into a fully-fledged orangutan male was real. The paradox was that removing Filip from Upita´s care lead to her becoming pregnant again very soon, and Pagy was born on 23 July 2001. Fortunately he was not exposed to humans care.

In Bratislava, where as a teenager he went in April 2010, he celebrated his 14th birthday on Thursday, 23 July 2015. The following day we transported him to Prague. He is an adult now and after some time he will live with Mawar, the female. I believe that Kama´s son Pagy will live a well-rounded and beautiful life and he will become father to many babies!

Return of Kama´s son

Miroslav Bobek, Director, Prague Zoo