Tuesday, January 1, 2008

World's Oldest Orangutan Dies at Age 55

A 55-year-old Sumatran orangutan, believed to be the world's oldest, has died, a Miami zoo spokesman said.

Nonja, who was born on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and lived in Miami since 1983, was found dead Saturday morning, said Ron Magill, spokesman for the Miami Metro Zoo.

"Everybody's very sad, especially with an animal like an orangutan," Magill said. "You see a lot of yourself in these animals. The great apes are our closest relatives."

A necropsy is to be performed in the next few days. A typical life span for Sumatran orangutans is 40 to 50 years, Magill said.

Nonja had slowed down in recent years because of her age, Mcgill said. "She was really a grand old dame," Magill said.

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