Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sacramento Zoo Grieves for Orangutan

By Tonja Swank, Public Relations Coordinator

The Oldest Sumatran Orangutan in the U.S., Ginger, Dies

Sacramento Zoo is saddened by the death of Ginger, their female Sumatran orangutan. Ginger, born in Sumatra in 1955, died the morning of October 18, 2011. She came to the Sacramento Zoo in 1984 where she surpassed all expectations, becoming the oldest Sumatran orangutan in the U.S.at the age of 56.

Leslie Field, Supervisor of Mammals, noted, “Ginger has always been a strong personality…even with keepers, she could be strong-willed. As the matriarch of the orangutan group, Ginger was a spectacular ambassador for wildlife; she inspired and motivated Zoo visitors to take an active role in conservation.”

Ginger was being treated for age-related illnesses, including arthritis, for some time. More recently, Sacramento Zoo veterinary and animal care staff attempted to treat neurological issues which had affected both her eyesight and coordination. Ginger was not physically able to move inside from her habitat last night. Discussion today focused on Ginger’s quality of life and potential for improvement. After careful consideration between Zoo administrators, animal care and veterinary staff, the decision was made to euthanize her to avoid any suffering.

Sumatran orangutans are native to the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. They are listed as endangered and are especially vulnerable to loss of habitat because they are only found on one small island. Current estimates indicate that there are only 20,000 to 30,000 orangutans left in the wild. Orangutans can live up to 30 years in the wild and 50 years in captivity.

Ginger will be missed by visitors and staff alike.



9 comments:

  1. I am very sad to hear of her passing. She had a very long life.

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  2. We will miss her but so thankful you helped her ease her pain.

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  3. Our Zoo should have pride in the fact that she lived such a long good life. Thank you for the great care that you give these animals...

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  4. I am so sad to hear. I feel you made the best decision by not allowing her to suffer. She and the rest of the orangutans have always been a highlight of my family's trips to the zoo. They are so engaging and we ag times find ourselves imitating them. She will be missed by zoo visitors and I hope her orangutan family is adjusting well.

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  5. I'm very sorry to hear of the death of Ginger :(

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  6. I think the Sacramento Zoo should have larger roaming areas for their animals. It is very sad to think Ginger lived 56 years locked up in such a small space without the feeling of knowing what it is like to be free. Very sad to hear.

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  7. We always enjoyed visits to the orangutans and will miss Ginger very much. Soar with the orangutan angels Ginger your spirit is set free. Thank you for all the years of laughter and fun you gave to all who came to visit the zoo.

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  8. So sorry to learn of Ginger's passing. She will be missed by her many fans and friends. RIP big orange girl.

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  9. though my heart is heavy i am happy to think that in death she was greeted with very wide and open arms by her old friend Urban

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