Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

World's oldest Sumatran orangutan, Puan, dies at 62

World's oldest Sumatran orangutan, Puan, dies at 62

Puan, the oldest Sumatran orangutan in the world, has died at the Perth Zoo in Australia, officials said.

She was the oldest orangutan in the world and was at the Perth zoo since 1968.

"She has done so much for the Perth Zoo colony and the survival of her species", said Holly Thompson, head of the primates at the facility.

While she passed away at 62-years-old, she leaves behind an impeccable legacy.

"Her genetics count for just under 10 per cent of the global zoological population", Thompson added.

It is believed Puan was born around 1956 but she may have been even older as she spent her early life in the jungles of Sumatra.

She added that her legacy as a wild-born orangutan will be carried on by her great-grandson Nyaru who is now living in the jungles of Sumatra.

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.

According to the zoo, in rare case orangutans of her species reach age 50 in the wild.

Perth Zoo broke the sad news this morning, Puan the orangutan has died.

Martina Hunt, the animal's keeper for over 18 years, wrote a tribute Tuesday in The West Australian.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, they are critically endangered animals and their habitat is under threat from wholesale land clearing for forestry and agriculture, including palm oil production.

Puan's zookeeper said she was an aloof and independent individual. She was the matriarch of the Sumatran Orangutan tribe.

She even exhibited those motherly mannerisms toward her zookeepers.

Growing trees to produce palm oil - used in many popular foods - is a particular threat to primates in Indonesia, as is mining for gold and sapphires in Madagascar.

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