Saturday, 22 September, 2018

World's oldest known Sumatran orangutan dies

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Theresa Hayes | 22 June, 2018, 05:29

Puan, who at 62 was the world's oldest Sumatran orangutan, died on Monday, Australian zoo officials said.

In a press release, the zoo says that the orangutan Point lived a long life and contributed much to the survival of its species.

The female orangutan was euthanized due to what veterinarians said were age-related complications affecting her quality of life, Perth Zoo said in a statement Tuesday. "It's my absolute wish for her to be remembered for the attractive, independent lady that she was and I think it's an awesome legacy for her great grandson Nyaru to be out living his life in the jungles of Sumatra, where his great grandmother hailed from". She has 54 descendants in Australia, the US, Indonesia and elsewhere around the world.

In a eulogy indeed fit for a "grand old lady", a zookeeper has paid tribute to the world's oldest Sumatran orangutan.

Six of Puan's offspring live at the Perth Zoo.

For her keepers, Puan's importance went beyond just awards and statistics.

Even as she aged Ms Hart said Puan still remained the "matriarch" and "dignified lady" they had always known her to be. Born in the jungles of Sumatra, she made the journey to Perth Zoo after being a part of the Sultan of Jahore's private zoo.

Martina Hart, Puan's chief zookeeper wrote an obituary for the ape in The West Australian newspaper today.

At the Perth Zoo, Puan leaves behind two daughters, four grandchildren and a great grandson.

The World Wildlife Fund have it that there are only about 14,600 Sumatran orangutans.

Behind the collapse in primate numbers is an increase in industrial agriculture.

With many species living in rainforests, the cutting down of millions of acres of forest to supply the increasing demand for timber or to clear land for agriculture is destroying their habitat and making populations more fragmented.

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