Perth Zoo has played down an orangutan’s attack on an intruder as “nature playing out” after the great ape was caught “launching” a possum from the top of its enclosure.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, a spokesperson for the zoo said while staff work hard to eradicate pests, “sometimes the orangutans evict the odd possum themselves”.
In a video posted online, the marsupial can be seen flying through the air from the highest point of the orangutan’s exhibit. In the background, several people can be heard screaming. As the possum disappears over the wall of a neighbouring enclosure, the camera pans back to the orangutan’s exhibit as the animal appears at the top of the tower.
“Oh my god,” someone says, while the ape climbs around the metal frame, as if to see where the possum landed.
‘Did not survive the fall’
In responding to the incident, Perth Zoo said it prides itself on creating natural environments and habitats for its residents, but sometimes local wildlife manage to sneak in. “Although we have a robust pest control program, just as in other urban Perth areas, it is impossible to eradicate all pests completely,” a spokesperson explained.
“The orangutan habitat is an outside environment, and possums, who also live at height, just like the orangutans, have been known to inhabit the above ground territories. Whilst every effort is made to catch and remove them, the sheer height provides some challenges and sometimes the orangutans evict the odd possum themselves.”
While the spokesperson wasn’t able to confirm the fate of the marsupial, they said “I would presume it did not survive the fall. Obviously the loss of any living creature saddens us, but also nature playing out.”
‘Stop making fun’
Since being shared to Reddit with the caption, “Orangutan at Perth Zoo launching a possum”, the video has gone viral, while the original poster has opened up about what led to the brutal showdown.
“[The orangutan] was throwing the possum around on the ground at first,” they explained. “Then [it] chased it up the pole and started poking it with a stick”. They also said that the possum “was thrown into another enclosure with two orangutans”.
The incident sparked plenty of mixed responses online. “This is horrifying and I can’t stop laughing,” one person wrote. “Bloody hell, that was like an Olympic level discus throw,” another commented, while a third said they “would like to buy that orangutan a drink”.
“Madagascar: Directors Cut,” said another, while someone else wrote: “I know tenants are having a hard time paying the rent, but this eviction is a bit rough”.
Others were more sympathetic. “Aww poor possum,” one person commented, while someone else urged Reddit users to “stop making fun, please”.
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