World's Oldest Orangutan Passes Away After Living 20 Years Passed Her Life Expectancy 😲 🥺
In Remembrance 🙏
The world's oldest known orangutan, a 61-year-old female called Inji, has sadly passed away at her home at the Oregon Zoo.
Derived from the Malay words for “person of the forest," Sumatran orangutans are a beautiful breed of endangered orangutan who are almost exclusively arboreal - meaning that they virtually never travel on the ground and spend all their time among the trees.
Inji's exact birth date isn't known, but she's been at her zoo for 60 years since 1961 - and was suspected to be a 1-year-old at the time of her arrival. She was brought to the U.S. through wild animal trade that was legal at the time.
"We knew she couldn't live forever, but this really hurts, and I know many visitors are grieving along with us," - Bob Lee, who oversees animal welfare at the zoo.
Throughout her impressively long life, Inji was a very active animal, and loved to spend her days engaging with the zoo's visitors through the windows of her habitat.
She also had a particular affinity for uniquely coloured objects, and plenty of staff & visitors would bring her new trinkets regularly to satisfy her curiosity.
The average life of an orangutan is just 35 years, so the fact that Inji made it so far past her life expectancy is a testament to the excellent care she received at the Oregon zoo. It's also possible the constant socialising with people kept her going too...
"Inji's ability to connect with people was incredible, she seemed to study humans and enjoy watching them, especially children"- Lee said.
Interestingly enough, Inji was also a mother to 33-year-old daughter Markisa, and even managed to become a grandmother to Markisa's own offspring - which is a lovely honor that very few orangutans will ever live long enough to achieve.
Unfortunately, despite Inji's long & fruitful life, her health began to deteriorate drastically over the past few weeks. Eventually, after Inji failed to respond to several medications offered by the zoo, the medical staff decided to humanely euthanize her to end her suffering kindly.
Rest In Peace ❤️
While it's lovely to enjoy the souls of animals like Inji while they're with us, there is sadly a bigger conversation to be had here surrounding the critical state of her species.
There are currently only 15,000 Sumatran orangutans, like Inji, left in the wild, making them the most endangered of all great apes, the Tapanuli orangutans are native to Sumatra as well, with just 800 individuals left in the wild.