Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Sci-tech | By Jackie Newman

World’s Oldest Sumatran Orangutan Dies Aged 62

World’s Oldest Sumatran Orangutan Dies Aged 62

Puan, the 62-year-old grand dame of Perth Zoo, was put to sleep on Monday after her quality of life rapidly deteriorated due to her advanced years.

Puan was enthanised after symptoms of age-related complications. The orangutan was gifted by the Sultan Johore in Malaysia in exchange for some Australian animals.

"She did so much for the colony at Perth Zoo and the survival of her species", said primate supervisor at Perth Zoo Holly Thompson. "She was the founding female of the best breeding colony in the world.The maker of the most fantastic nests, and the lady who took no nonsense from her children over the years, but was also the most nurturing mother we had".

Puan's genetics were responsible for just under 10 per cent of the global zoological population of the species, Thompson said. She had 11 children and 54 descendants spread across the globe.

At 62 years she lived well beyond her typical life expectancy and was recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest verified member of her species in 2016.

Sumatran orangutans, found in the northern parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, do not usually live beyond 50 in the wild.

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Puan's chief zookeeper penned an obituary in The West Australian newspaper to pay a tribute to her on Tuesday, the BBC report added.

"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", Ms. Hart wrote.

Zookeeper Martina Hart said Puan "went extremely peacefully".

"Puan demanded and deserved respect, and she certainly had it from all her keepers over the years. But to me, she'll always remain a big part of my life".

Sumatran orangutans are struggling to adapt in a changing world and are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN 2017).

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