ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com / News release) – A Sumatran orangutan at the St. Louis Zoo died Wednesday.
Robert B, age 23, died from complications associated with an air sac and respiratory tract infection.
Robert B would have turned age 24 on July 29. The median life expectancy of Sumatran orangutans is 28.2 years, according to the Association Zoos and Aquariums reference library of scientifically valid median life expectancies.
“From the moment Robert B came to the Saint Louis Zoo five years ago, he quickly became a favorite of visitors whom he greeted regularly at the windows in his indoor and outdoor habitats,” said Jack Grisham, vice president, Animal Collections, Saint Louis Zoo in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Robert B was a wonderful ambassador for this endangered species that both the Saint Louis Zoo and conservation organizations around the world are trying to save in the wild. He will be greatly missed.”
Robert B moved into the Donn & Marilyn Lipton Fragile Forest at the Saint Louis Zoo in 2011. He was born at Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas in 1992. When he was about six months old, he was sent to Topeka Zoo to be raised by a surrogate mother and live with other orangutans. In 1999 he moved to Rolling Hills Safari Park in Salina, Kansas. In 2011, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommended the transfer of Robert B to St. Louis.
Four other orangutans, female Merah and her daughters Ginger and Rubih, and male Cinta can be found in either the Zoo’s indoor habitat in Jungle of the Apes or in their outdoor habitat at Fragile Forest.
Both orangutan species, one endemic to Borneo, the other endemic to Sumatra, are highly endangered due to an alarming rate of habitat loss. A global demand for palm oil has resulted in widespread deforestation and subsequent drastic declines in the number of orangutans that survive in the wild.
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