The World's Oldest Known Sumatran Orangutan Has Died at Age 62

'Respectful end for an old lady': World's oldest orangutan dies in Perth

'Respectful end for an old lady': World's oldest orangutan dies in Perth

The world's oldest known Sumatran orangutan has died in an Australian zoo aged 62, leaving behind 54 descendants.

Sumatran orangutans, found in the northern parts of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, do not usually live beyond 50 in the wild.

She added that her legacy as a wild-born orangutan will be carried on by her great-grandson Nyaru who is now living in the jungles of Sumatra.

Puan, meaning "lady" in Indonesian, left behind an "incredible legacy" of 54 descendants including 11 children and was a celebrated matriarch who helped save her species, according to a statement from Perth Zoo.

"Puan had people who had been working with her for a long long time, with her till the very end", she said, struggling to keep her composure.

Her genetics count for just under 10 percent of the global captive population.

Perth Zoo broke the sad news this morning, Puan the orangutan has died.

Believed born in 1956, two years ago Puan was recognised by Guinness Book of Records for being the oldest verified Sumatran Orang-utan in the world.

"Puan demanded and deserved respect, and she certainly had it from all her keepers over the years". The Perth Zoo euthanized Puan after she developed age-related health complications. "You always knew were you stood with Puan", said Hart.

Zookeeper Martina Hart said Puan "went extremely peacefully".

There are less than 15,000 Sumatran orangutans living in the world at the moment, as per the World Wildlife Fund.

Behind the collapse in primate numbers is an increase in industrial agriculture.

Growing trees to produce palm oil - used in many popular foods - is a particular threat to primates in Indonesia, as is mining for gold and sapphires in Madagascar.

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