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Woodland Park Zoo’s oldest animal dies one day shy of 52

Chinta, a 51-year-old female orangutan at Woodland Park Zoo. (Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.)

Chinta the orangutan passed away peacefully Tuesday morning. She would have turned 52 years old tomorrow, the oldest animal living at Woodland Park Zoo, and one of the oldest orangutans in the North America, according to the zoo’s blog post about her death.

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Born in the 1960s at Woodland Park, she lived at the zoo her whole life. Her twin brother passed away in 2016, but they were celebrities from birth as the first-known twin orangutans born at a zoo.

In the wild, the median life expectancy for orangutans is 28 years, but orangutans at zoos often live into their 50s due to advances in medicine and geriatric care.

The cause of death for Chinta is still unknown, but will be determined following an animal autopsy (necropsy), which is standard practice for the zoo.

“For five decades, people loved Chinta. She was an extraordinary individual. Orangutans are struggling in the wild and Chinta became a true ambassador for her species. She and her fellow orangutans have inspired individuals to support different orangutan conservation efforts and make lifestyle changes, such as converting to purchasing items with sustainable palm oil,” mammal curator Martin Ramirez said in the zoo’s blog.

She had been resting in an off-exhibit bedroom for closer monitoring and care, and she even got to watch TV, which she loved, according to Ramirez.

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Woodland Park Zoo still has two female orangutans, aged 48 and 38, and two males, aged 31 and 11.

Read more about Chinta’s life on the zoo’s blog here.