- Associated Press - Saturday, June 25, 2016

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) - A world-traveling band will be joined by a very special guest during its performance next week at a zoo in Wahpeton.

Talukan, an orangutan at the Chahinkapa Zoo, will join the Friday performance of the New York Kammermusiker, a professional group that performs double-reed classical music, the Wahpeton Daily News (https://bit.ly/28YERUK ) reported. The music-loving orangutan joined the zoo in 2010 and counts a recorder, harmonica and child’s piano among its toys.

“Music is a really wonderful enrichment tool for many species, not just humans,” said Zoo Director Kathy Diekman. “And Tal does like music and we recognized that soon after we got him in 2010. He really took to music.”

The newspaper reported that during the orangutan’s performances, zoo staff hold the instruments and handle finger movements that create music notes. A donated computer tablet also allows him to use an app to hear music.

Diekman said part of the animal’s “enrichment training” involves blowing into a recorder, an exercise that she said the public enjoys watching.

“And he gets a treat for that, so it’s an enriching thing for him,” she said. The zoo plans to have Talukan join the band during the song “African Melody.”

Members of the band visited the zoo earlier this week and played their instruments for an hour in an effort to acclimate the orangutan to the group.

“Tal’s interest in music is what makes this event and their willingness to spend the time with him and do this, it’s just a positive experience across the board,” she said.


Information from: Wahpeton Daily News, https://www.wahpetondailynews.com



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