ATLANTA (WSAV) – Zoo Atlanta is mourning the loss of a founding member of its orangutan population.
Biji the Sumatran orangutan died Thursday, according to the zoo. She was 52.
Zoo officials said Biji was being treated for advancing kidney failure and was euthanized due to her poor prognosis.
“Biji was the ultimate incarnation of the intellect, resourcefulness, and adaptability of orangutans. Beneath that surface, she was a huge personality with a goofy side she only showed to those who knew her best,” said Dr. Jennifer Mickelberg, vice president of Collections and Conservation.
According to Zoo Atlanta, Biji’s age was exceptional for orangutans as apes are usually considered geriatric after the age of 40. Officials say it’s a testament to the state-of-the-art health care provided by the zoo.
Biji arrived at Zoo Atlanta in 1988 as part of an original group of orangutans from Emory University’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
“Biji has been an inspiration to decades of Zoo visitors, and it has been our privilege and honor to have served as her home for more than 30 years,” Mickelberg said. “She has helped all of us, and our visitors, better understand the incredible nature of these amazing apes.”