Obese Orangutan Finds a Healthier New Home

An obese orangutan named Oshine sitting in the sun.

Matthew Brooker / 500px / Getty Images

Oshine the orangutan has a bit of a weight problem. After being kept as a pet for 13 years, lazing around and eating junk-food, the portly primate ballooned up to 220 pounds - but she should soon be on the right track to a healthier life. She was recently adopted by a zoo in the UK after her former owner in South Africa found her weight too much to handle, but getting the obese orangutan to her new home proved to be no simple task. As for Oshine's weight loss plan, it ́s one we all could take note of.According to a report from The Telegraph, Oshine was adopted by Monkey World in Dorset, England after being contacted by her former owner in South Africa who thought she needed a healthier lifestyle. It turns out over a decade of eating candies and other junk-food takes its toll on orangutans too.

When it came time to transport Oshine on the long flight from Johannesburg to London, her new owners at the zoo had to be extra precautious - taking over a year to prepare for the big move.

Monkey World ́s Dr. Alison Cronin explains:

The long-haul journey for such a delicate endangered species such as an orangutan is fraught with difficulties and danger. With Oshine's weight problem we were especially concerned about her travel arrangements and making sure that the journey was stress-free and safe.

Prior to being moved to her new home, Oshine was familiarized with the transport crate she would be carried in so she would feel comfortable during the flight. This allowed zoo officials to avoid putting her life at risk through the use of anesthesia, which ̈made a real difference, ̈ says Cronin.

Now that Oshine has arrived to Monkey World, she will spend her time with other orangutans in a sort of primate-rehab facility. And it ́s no more candy for her, either; from now on she ́ll enjoy food more fitting for an orangutan - like fruits and vegetables. Her exercise regiment is set to improve as well, now that she has room to play.

Monkey World thinks they ́ll soon see Oshine ́s waistline slim and her attitude improve - perhaps to the point where she could consider joining the dating scene. ''It will take a few months for Oshine to reach a more appropriate weight and then she will be ready to meet a new man and consider a family of her own, ̈ says Dr. Cronin.

Oshine ́s health problems may not be entirely uncommon, particularly as the illegal wildlife trade persists and people continue to support it through the adoption of exotic animals, like orangutans. But while a few extra pounds may be worrisome among primate pets, orangutans in the wild face conditions which are far more daunting. Habitat destruction through deforestation and development are among the chief problems threatening many primate species with extinction.

As we marvel at just how far an orangutan like Oshine has departed from her natural state, perhaps it is more of a reflection of our often unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits -- because a gut like that really isn ́t so uncommon in some other primate species I can think of.