Perth Farewells World's Oldest Sumatran Orangutan

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A keeper at Perth Zoo has written a handsome tribute to the world's oldest Sumatran orangutan after she passed away at the age of 62.

The world's oldest known Sumatran orangutan has died in an Australian zoo aged 62, leaving behind 54 descendants.

"She did so much for the colony at Perth Zoo and the survival of her species", said primate supervisor Holly Thompson.

"Puan taught me patience, she taught me that natural and wild instincts never disappear in captivity".

Puan has left 11 children and 54 descendants across the United States, Europe and elsewhere, according to the zoo.

A critically endangered species, Sumatran orangutans rarely reach age 50 in the wild, the zoo said.

According to Ms. Thompson, she had an independent personality and a distant attitude.

Her genetics count for just under 10 percent of the global captive population.

Thought to be born in 1956, the female Sumatran Orangutan was euthanized after her health rapidly declined due to her advanced years.

"Puan demanded and deserved respect, and she certainly had it from all her keepers over the years".

Puan was put down at Perth Zoo after developing age-related complications.

"It feels quite surreal to have said goodbye, we all know that life isn't infinite, but for some reason Puan has always just seemed to be the one who might prove us wrong", Hart wrote in a eulogy published in the West Australian newspaper.

"As hard as it was for us, it was the right thing to do", Martina Hart added. "But to me, she'll always remain a big part of my life".

She leaves two daughters at the zoo, along with four grandchildren and a great grandson. She was the matriarch of the Sumatran Orangutan tribe.

She even exhibited those motherly mannerisms toward her zookeepers.

Behind the collapse in numbers is an increase in industrial agriculture, large-scale cattle ranching, logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, dam building and road construction.

Nearly all (94 per cent and 97 per cent) of the primate populations in these countries are in decline.

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