Ah Meng was a female Sumatran Orangutan and a favorite at the world famous Singapore Zoo. Ah Meng passed away on February 8th due to old age. She was about 48 years old and leaves behind two sons, Hsing Hsing and Satria, and two daughters, Medan and Sayang, as well as six grandchildren. She was known for her friendly nature, comfortability with humans and her animated facial expressions. Ah Meng had been featured in more than 30 travel films, and written about in some 300 articles, becoming the poster girl of the Singapore Zoo. In 1992, the Singapore Tourism Board awarded Ah Meng a "Special Tourism Ambassador" honor in recognition of her contribution towards tourism in Singapore. Originally recovered in 1971 by a veterinarian from a local family who kept her as a pet, Ah Meng’s first owner had smuggled her illegally from Indonesia. Her species, the Sumatran Orangutan, is a rarer breed of orangutan now critically endangered due to illegal logging and poaching. There are about only 7,500 Sumatran Orangutans left in the rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Ah Meng was the first to host the Zoo's famous “Breakfast with an Orangutan” program, where luminaries such as Prince Philip of Britain and Michael Jackson were among the many foreign dignitaries and celebrities that visited her. By allowing close interaction with Ah Meng and other orangutans, the Singapore Zoo aimed to raise public awareness of the importance of preserving the orangutan's natural habitat as well as other environmental issues.