It is with great sadness that we share the news that one of Como’s most loved animals has passed away. Our female hybrid orangutan, Amanda, was humanely euthanized at the age of 46 on Saturday morning.
A team of specialists from the University of Minnesota and our dedicated zoo staff recently immobilized Amanda to try to find the cause of her recent discomfort and inappetence. A mass within her body was discovered that ultimately caused chronic damage to her kidneys. Unfortunately the mass, located within her lower abdomen, was determined to be difficult to remove and her prognosis for recovery and improvement was extremely poor. The difficult decision was made to humanly euthanize her.
Amada came to Como Zoo from the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, TX when she was 3 years old. With her large personality she made connections to our visitors and was the subject of countless photographs capturing her exceptional beauty. Amanda was known for her intelligence, playful personality, love of painting and listening to music, and she was a frequent participant in the regular animal enrichment programs. Amanda served as an incredible ambassador for orangutans in the wild and orangutan conservation, inspiring many to get involved with research and programs that worked to protect orangutans.
“Amanda was curious, mischievous, engaging, and smart. We lost a beautiful soul”, said Megan Elder, Como Zoo Primate Zookeeper, Orangutan Species Survival Coordinator, and International Orangutan Studbook Keeper. “It’s crushing for me, my co-workers, and all that knew her, cared for her, and loved her. It’s no exaggeration to say she inspired generations. It’s hard to imagine Como without her”.
In honor of the long, inspirational life of Amanda, Mayor Carter has officially declared Monday, December 19th 2022, Amanda the Orangutan Day in Saint Paul.
Orangutans, a critically endangered species, belong to the family Hominidae, which includes all four great apes: gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. The three species of orangutans are found only in Southeast Asia: the Bornean orangutan native to the island of Borneo, and Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans native to the island of Sumatra. Overpopulation, logging, agriculture, conversion of forests to unsustainable oil palm plantations, and other human activities are rapidly destroying forest environments required by orangutans for survival
The median life expectancy for orangutans is 28 years; in zoos, orangutans are now living in to their 40s and 50s because of the evolving field of zoo medicine, which includes geriatric care.
*Hybrid orangutan is an orangutan derived from interbreeding between any of the three Orangutan species: Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus), Sumatran (Pongo abelii) and Tapanuli (Pongo tapanuliensis)
PHOTO CREDIT JACKIE SCHERER PHOTOGRAPHY