"Oyen" is Star Attraction At Zoo Negara’s Capybara Enclosure

"Oyen" is Star Attraction At Zoo Negara’s Capybara Enclosure

By: Patrick Beech

Malaysians have always been fascinated with orang cats, nicknaming them as "Oyen" in the process.

Recently an "Oyen" made the news after it comfortably made itself part of the capybara herd in Zoo Negara.

Capybaras as the biggest rodent on Earth and these semi-aquatic mammals are found throughout much of northern and central South America.

They’re closely related to guinea pigs, and more distantly related to chinchillas and agouti.

In Zoo Negara, the capybara enclosure is large and sits lower than the pathways, with trees encircling the back and a low stone wall out front.

Among the rodents now sits a well-fed orang cat eating its tuna from a blue food bowl.

According to reports, the cat and the giant rodents have been roommates of sorts for the past two or three years and the unusual pairing has become a draw in the zoo.

Zoo staff are not exactly sure when the cat, dubbed "Oyen" by staff and visitors, moved in with the capybaras. All they know is that sometime during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown, they would suddenly see Oyen during feeding times.

The capybaras did not seem to mind having a meat-eating feline interloper with them.

"When we first discovered him, we saw he was very friendly with the capybaras. He would eat with them, ” Mohd Taufik Yazidbustami, senior zookeeper at Zoo Negara, told Bernama.

"At that time, we were also feeding the capybaras bread, which the cat ate,” he added.

Zoo staff then decided to allow the friendship to continue as the cat and the capybaras seemed to get along well. Oyen has from then been getting his own food, not just bread and has become sort of a "star attraction" at the zoo.