The oldest Sumatran orangutan in the world, a female with 11 pups and 54 offspring scattered around the world, died at the age of 62 in an Australian zoo, the latter said Tuesday.
Puan, which means “Lady” in Indonesian, died Monday at the Perth Zoo where she lived since she was given as a gift from Malaysia in 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.
“Apart from being the oldest member of our colony, she was also a founding member of our world-renowned breeding program and leaves behind an incredible legacy. Her genes are found in just under 10% of the population of world zoos”.
Puan had 11 babies among a total of 54 descendants scattered around the world, mostly in the United States, Europe, Australia and the jungle of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Her great-grandson Nyaru was the last specimen to be released in the wild.
Born in 1956, she entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest orangutan in the world. In the wild, females rarely live beyond 50 years.
According to Ms. Thompson, she had an independent personality and a distant attitude. “We knew what to do with Puan, and if she was unhappy she would just kick her foot.”
Two of her daughters still live at the zoo, along with four grandchildren and a great grandson.