SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – Love is in the air at ZooMiami, in the Orangutan exhibit.
Bella, a 9-year-old female Orangutan appears to be getting along quite nicely with Jiwi, a 7-year-old Bornean Orangutan who arrived from the Phoenix Zoo in April as part of an “arranged marriage,” according to ZooMiami Communications Director Ron Magill.
READ MORE: Citizens Insurance Tops 850,000 Policies In Florida
Here’s the back story. Bella has been the only Orangutan at ZooMiami since her mother’s death last September.
Jiwi was brought in to be romantic companion, but first, zookeepers had to make sure they would get along.
When he first arrived, Jiwi first had to pass his initial quarantine before being put into a holding area within sightline of Bella but separated by barriers to prevent any potential aggression. There was none and zookeepers were encouraged by the interest they seemed to have in each other.
PIX: Photo Gallery of Jiwi and Bella’s first encounter
Thursday, May 5, Jiwi and Bella were both given access to the Orangutan habitat while staff carefully observed them, hoping that they would indeed get along. And they did!
At first, Jiwa went off on his own exploring his new surroundings while Bella watched from a distance while she did her own thing.
READ MORE: At Least 8 Dead After Massive Explosion Destroys Hotel In Havana, Cuba
Eventually, they got closer to each other with Jiwa stretching out his long arm in an effort to connect.
They each seemed curious about what the other was doing but they never displayed aggression.
Then, as they sat across from each other, Bella slowly leaned in and gently placed her lips on Jiwa’s chin while he tilted his head back.
Soon after, facing each other again, Jiwa gently leaned his head against Bella’s as they both exchanged what appeared to be a truly tender moment.
Throughout the afternoon, they both spent more time together.
MORE NEWS: ‘I Won’t Let You Down’: Ex-Broward Sheriff Scott Israel Named New Top Cop In Opa-Locka
Magill says this is not a guarantee that Bella and Jiwi will be able to successfully reproduce, but it is a very positive sign that they will bond as they sexually mature and be able to contribute offspring to this critically endangered species.