Hundreds of people have been sharing their memories of a much loved Colchester Zoo orangutan.

Rajang the orangutan, who has called the Maldon Road attraction his home since 1980, had to be put to sleep due to worsening health.

He was 50.

Over his time at the zoo, visitors and staff alike fell in love with the great ape, who was receiving treatment for chronic arthritis and several other conditions by the time of his death.

READ MORE: Colchester Zoo's Rajang the orangutan dies

In the latter stages of his long and happy life, the orangutan became a star of social media, with videos of him kissing visitors' baby bumps going viral online.

Gazette readers have been sharing their memories.

David Lovey said: "I first met the amazing Rajang in 2009 and what a character who kept you captivated with his long stares and hand and facial gestures.

"Will sadly miss this amazing and highly intelligent orangutan on all my future visits to Colchester Zoo. R.I.P buddy."

Kathy Stewart got to be a keeper for the day with Rajang.

She said: "I was lucky enough to have been given a keeper for the day as a gift. Raj had been my favourite for many years. Such a loss he will be sorely missed."

  • Kathy Stewart's picture of Rajang

Tia Sparling is a senior character artist at ubisoft Quebec. She created this 3D model.


She said: "This is a 3D model I don of Rajang a few years ago. Rajang was one of my favourites at Colchester Zoo and always on the saddest days in my childhood.

"He would always make me smile. He always seemed like a gentle giant who was attached too human emotions. Sleep well, my friend."

Charlotte Rayner's love for Rajang went a step further after she got a tattoo of the animal.

She said: "I got this tattoo shortly before Raj’s 50th birthday.


"This is a memory I have of him in the 90s when he use to have a bin lid on his head to shade him from the sun. I’ll miss him a lot."

Robbie Mcwilliams took this picture with Rajang back in 2008.


Nicola Wall recalled visiting Rajang for more than 40 years.

She said: "I’ve visited the zoo for more than 40 years and seen Rajang, orangutans have always held a special place in my heart.

"The icing on the cake was when I was just under five months pregnant and Rajang kissed my bump through the glass, such a special moment I will cherish forever.

"My little boy Jenson, now two years old has been lucky enough to meet him on the outside."

Samantha Montgomery snapped a picture of Rajang with her baby bump.


She said: "Rajang saying hello to my very pregnant belly with my son. I always took my son to see him and told him he kissed my belly when he was growing."

Hannah Woodiwiss took this in November.


She said: "This was on November 29, so lucky we got to see him during his last few weeks! Such a beautiful and majestic man!!"