World’s oldest Sumatran orangutan dies at 62


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

Puan, known as the "grand old lady" of Perth Zoo, was euthanised on Monday after her quality of life rapidly deteriorated due to her age.

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

Some of Puan's descendants have been released back into the wild in Sumatra, the zoo said.

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Puan played a vital role in ensuring the viability of the Sumatran orangutan, which has been categorized as a critically endangered species, according to WWF. "She was somewhat aloof, I remember being told early in my career - "Puan will decide when and if you may touch her"!"

With 54 descendants - 29 of which are still living - Puan's genetics count for just under 10 percent of the global captive population of orangutans.

Six of Puan's offspring live at the Perth Zoo.

She was awarded a Guinness Book of Records title in 2016 for being the oldest verified Sumatran orangutan in the world.

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

'But she remained the matriarch, the quiet, dignified lady she had always been'. Born in the jungles of Sumatra, she made the journey to Perth Zoo after being a part of the Sultan of Jahore's private zoo. "We knew what to do with Puan, and if she was unhappy she would just kick her foot".

At the Perth Zoo, Puan leaves behind two daughters, four grandchildren and a great grandson.

Researchers found that if things continue as they are, by the end of the century primate range will have contracted by 78 per cent in Brazil, 72 per cent in Indonesia, 62 per cent in Madagascar and 32 per cent in the DRC.

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