Beloved 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan passed away

Friday, 05/01/2024, 17:55 (GMT+7)

Visitors were left heartbroken after the beloved 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan passed away.

Melbourne Zoo experienced a challenging day as a beloved 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan named Kiani was euthanized hours after the evacuation of visitors due to concerns about a baboon potentially escaping its enclosure.

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According to reports, Kiani lived longer than the typical 40-year lifespan before passing away. Image Credits: @Zoos Victoria/Facebook

Kiani was reported to have passed away after surpassing the average life expectancy of about 40 years.

Veterinarians made the difficult decision to euthanize Kiani on Wednesday, citing her deteriorating health attributed to age-related conditions in recent weeks. 

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When age-related conditions caused Kiani's health to deteriorate, her caregivers had to make the difficult decision to euthanize her. Image Credits: @Zoos Victoria/Facebook

Kiani has spent 40 years of her entire life at the zoo. She is known for being calm and inquisitive. After Kiani's death at the Melbourne Zoo, only two critically endangered orangutans survived, including Kiani's 33-year-old daughter, Gabby.

Before the euthanasia, visitors were evacuated or placed in lockdown as an emergency alarm over fears that baboons had escaped.

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A tribute video for Kiani went viral on social media. The video showcased a 45-year-old female orangutan, born and raised at Melbourne Zoo, until her passing on January 3, 2024. Image Credits: @Zoos Victoria/Facebook

Melbourne Zoo took to social media to commemorate Kiani's life 40 years ago. 

Melbourne Zoo expressed its condolences after the death of Kiani on social media. They are not only admitting that Kiani was 'admired by all those who had the privilege of meeting her',' but also highlighting the impact she had on staff, members, and visitors over the past four decades.

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According to Zoo Victoria, the Sumatran Orangutan is a large, critically endangered species of ape, with long, reddish-brown hair covering most of the body, excluding the face and (human-like) hands. Image Credits: @Zoos Victoria/Facebook

The post read: 

"Melbourne Zoo is sad to announce that we have said goodbye to our beloved elderly Orangutan, Kiani, earlier today.

Kiani was receiving supportive care to manage her age-related arthritis. Over the past few weeks, her condition deteriorated to a point where keepers and vets made the difficult decision to euthanize Kiani as the kindest and most humane welfare outcome. Kiani was born at Melbourne Zoo and spent her 45 years here. Melbourne Zoo is also home to Kiani's 33-year-old daughter, Gabby, as well as adult male, Malu. Sumatran Orangutans are currently listed as Critically Endangered in the wild.

Staff, zoo members and visitors alike will have fond memories of Kiani that span over the past four decades. Her gentle, inquisitive and affectionate nature was admired by all those who had the privilege of meeting her. Kiani loved to interact with visitors, paying special attention to men with beards, as well as mothers feeding their babies. While we are deeply saddened by her loss, we are comforted knowing she is at peace and without pain.Vale Kiani."

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Kiani has surpassed the average 40-year lifespan of the species. Image Credits: @Zoos Victoria/Facebook

Visitors who saw her as late as Monday were left "devastated and heartbroken" by the announcement.

One person said: I'm soooo sad.  I went to visit her on Monday. She was chasing Gabby around, just wanting some love as usual. Gabby was having none of it. I told her I loved her. Who knew that would be my last visit? Rest in peace, pain-free, sweet angel.

A second visitor commented: Rest, sweet one. I remember you watching me here, taking in my pregnant belly, and then knowingly watching when my boy was born, especially when he fed and later had a nappy change, as we often did watching the orangutans. Thinking of the team and the orangutan family.

While a third wrote: I’ll miss showing her photos to her on the back of my camera. So glad I got to spend some time with her last Saturday. 

Watching the video below: