Orangutan Art

Orangutans helping Orangutans.

Purchasing CMZoo orangutan art helps wild orangutan conservation.

Numerous other zoos have trained their orangutans to paint, including the Houston Zoo and Sedgewick County Zoo. After realizing the potential of orangutans in zoos to contribute toward wild orangutan conservation, we decided to see if our orangutans were interested. October 17, 2008 was the first day of painting training with our orangutans. As with all of the other behaviors we work on, we use only positive reinforcement.

The orangutans choose whether or not they want to paint.  The first sessions resulted in a few simple dots of paint on the paper, and a lot of broken paint brushes.  By giving small treats (reinforcing) each time the artist dipped their brush into the paint, and each time he or she then touched the brush to the paper, the orangutans quickly caught on to the process.  Within a week or two, the four adult orangutans were creating unique pieces of art!

Unique Benefits of Orangutan Art

  • Painting enriches the orangutans’ lives and stimulates their minds.
  • This is a unique opportunity for the orangutans that live at CMZ to help their wild counterparts. Every time a painting is purchased, 50% of the proceeds go to orangutan conservation.
  • Learn more about orangutan conservation and the palm oil crisis.
  • We know that every time someone looks at orangutan art displayed in their home or office, they will be reminded how amazing and intelligent these great apes are!

Orangutan Artists Profiles

Tujoh – Bornean orangutan Tujoh was born April 30, 1994. He is definitely right-handed when it comes to painting. Tujoh sometimes uses short jab-like strokes when he paints, other days he seems more patient and gentle with his brush. One thing that is very consistent with his technique is that Tujoh always gets a LOT of paint on the brush and methodically wipes off the excess paint inside of his exhibit before he touches the brush to the paper. Tujoh uses double (or triple) the amount of paint that the other orangutans use for a painting, and often accidentally splatters his trainer!



Hadiah – Bornean orangutan Hadiah was born June 8, 1996. She often stands to paint, doing her classic pose of one foot on the ground, one foot up high. Hadiah seemed to enjoy painting very much when she painted outside, but as the weather was getting cooler we tried painting with her indoors. She did not want to paint! On warm days she continued to be inspired when she was outdoors. Her trainer Heidi decided to try painting at a different location indoors and Hadiah did great! Hadiah seems to think paint is gooey and yucky, and always avoids getting any paint on her hands.



Baka – Sumatran orangutan Baka was born June 15, 1990. Baka is the most free-spirited artist thus far, he alternates holding the brush with his hand and mouth, and has even held the brush with his foot! Baka’s primary trainer Mandy is very flexible and has encouraged him to paint in whatever manner he chooses. Baka broke more paint brushes than any of the other artists in the early stages of his painting career.




Sumagu – Sumatran orangutan Sumagu was born October 10, 1987. Her progression as an artist has been very interesting. Some of her early paintings have dabs and brush strokes around the entire edge of the paper, but she would not paint in the middle of the paper. Then one day…she discovered the center of the paper! Sumagu knows what to do, when she sees her trainer Debbie approaching with paper, brush and pallet in hand. Sumagu is pretty good at multi-tasking, her son Makan often checks in with her during the painting sessions.


Orangutan Art Gallery

Original Paintings for Sale:

Tujoh's Paintings    

T176 - 5"x 7"
T22 - 3" x 5"
T180 - 5" x 7"
T177 - 5" x 7"
T19- 3" x 5"

T196 - 5" x 7"
Hadiah's Paintings    

H16 - 3"x 5"
H153- 5"x 7"
H76- 8"x 10"
H75 - 8"x 10"
H78 - 8x10" sold

H12 - 3"x 5"
Baka's Paintings    

B17 - 3" x 5" sold
B148 - 5" x 7" sold
B146 - 5" x 7" sold
B13 - 3" x 5" sold
B20 - 3" x 5" sold

B144 - 8" x 10"
Sumagu's Paintings    

S24 - 3"x 5"
S32 - 3" x 5"
S133 - 8"x 10"
S17 - 3"x 5"
S29 - 3"x 5"
S111 - 5"x 7"

Note: Paintings pictured may no longer be available.
Try "Surprise Me option - the Zoo chooses my painting" for sale online too!

Details of CMZ Orangutan Artwork

  • All paper, mats and tape are acid-free
  • Each painting is matted and wrapped in a protective plastic sleeve
  • 3"x5" art is matted with a 5"x7" outside edge dimension
  • 5” x 7” art is matted with an 8” x 10” outside edge dimension
  • 8” x 10” art is matted with an 11” x 14” outside edge dimension
  • Certificate of Authenticity is included with each painting
  • 50% of the proceeds from each purchase goes to orangutan conservation
  • On-line images may slightly alter hues of paint colors or centering of paintings in the digitally applied mats (compared to the real mats).
  • Foam core backing is NOT included – this is often discarded during the framing process and is not environmentally conscious.

Private Painting Session

Get a private painting session with an orangutan! You can select the canvas size and up to four of the available paint colors. The orangutan will paint two canvases. All paintings are an additional fee. (Fee dependent on size of painting)
To Schedule: Call 719.633.9925, ext. 174, or e-mail aarimborgo@cmzoo.org.


$250 for up to four guests.
Note: this is very weather dependent, the orangutans paint in their outdoor exhibit when we have guests observing. They go outdoors when it is over 50 degrees.

Order Online:

Order By Phone:

Phone: Call 719.633.9925, ext. 174, or e-mail info@cmzoo.org.
Please indicate the number of the painting you want to purchase and include your contact information.
Orders may take up to 1-2 weeks to process/ship.

3"x5" paintings = $13
5” x 7” paintings = $20
8” x 10” paintings = $27
*Shipping & handling = $10
* If you pick up your purchase at CMZ there is no shipping/handling charge.

Every time a painting is purchased, 50% of the proceeds go to orangutan conservation!