Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Perth Farewells World's Oldest Sumatran Orangutan

Puan with her baby in 1974 Camera Icon Puan with her baby
Frank Williams | 22 June, 2018, 05:32

The Perth Zoo euthanized Puan after she developed age-related health complications.

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.

"It's always hard to make this decision in relation to any animal, but it was the right decision and a worthy end for older ladies", explained head of the Department of primates Holly Thompson.

The 62-year-old Puan passed away at an Australian zoo.

Two years ago, the elderly orangutan claimed the Guinness World Record as the oldest Sumatran orangutan in the world.

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

'Her genetics count for just under 10 per cent of the global zoological population'. "We knew what to do with Puan, and if she was unhappy she would just kick her foot". In the wild, females rarely live beyond 50 years.

Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, dies at 46
She mastered it, too. using 1,000 words to communicate with humans - and was able to understand 2,000 words of spoken English. When Koko was told of Williams' death, photos of the apparently distressed gorilla went viral, according to Time magazine .

As the founder of our world renowned breeding program her legacy is phenomenal with descendants living all over the world.

Sumatran orangutan known as Puan, which is Indonesian for lady, at Perth Zoo where she has lived since being gifted by Malaysia in 1968.

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

"She was a lovely, independent lady whose legacy is unparalleled".

Puan was the matriarch of the Perth Zoo orangutan colony, mothering 11 children during her time in captivity.

Some of Puan's descendants have been released back into the wild in Sumatra, the zoo said. I feel so grateful to have been in her life, albeit to have been such a small part of her life.

"Rest in peace Puan, may you climb happily in the jungles of the sky", she wrote.

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