Puan, World's Oldest Known Sumatran Orangutan Dies In Australian Zoo

Puan with her baby in 1974

Camera Icon Puan with her baby

Although Puan may have passed on, a few of her surviving descendents remain in Perth Zoo, including daughters, Puteri and Pulang; four grandchildren, Utama, Teliti, Sekara and Lestari; and great grandson Sungai.

"Apart from being the oldest member of our colony, she was also the founding member of our world-renowned breeding program and leaves an incredible legacy", said Holly Thompson, the zoo's primate supervisor in a statement.

Born in 1956, she was noted by the Guinness Book of Records as being the oldest verified Sumatran orangutan in the world in 2016.

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As the mother of 11 children, Puan's genetics account for just under 10% of the global zoological population, according to Perth Zoo.

The world's oldest Sumatran orangutan, who helped "save her species", has died at Perth Zoo, aged 62 years old. In the wild, females rarely live beyond 50 years.

"Puan is one of the more hard members of our colony to write about - she's not as outgoing as Sekara, as sweet as Utama or as placid as Dinar, but she certainly holds a special place in everyone's hearts, and her legacy is quite simply incredible".

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For her keepers, Puan's importance went beyond just awards and statistics. She was in a zoo environment, but to the end she always maintained her independence.

Sumatran orangutans are a critically endangered species with about 7,500 left in the world, according to WWF figures. She would tap her feet like a little war dance when she wanted something and it wasn't coming quickly enough. Sadly, Puan had been suffering of late from age-related issues, and so she was euthanized on Monday at the age of 62. 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.

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