An orangutan believed to have been the oldest in the world has died at the age of 61, following a period of declining health.
Sumatran orangutan Inji arrived at Oregon Zoo on January 30, 1961, as a one-year-old. She is said to have made ‘many friends over the years’, all while inspiring generations of humans to ‘take action for her species’.
Having slowed down noticeably in recent years, Inji was euthanized on Saturday, January 9, after it become apparent that pain medication could no longer help her.
Bob Lee, who oversees Oregon Zoo’s animal areas, said:
We knew she couldn’t live forever, but this really hurts, and I know many visitors are grieving along with us. Inji’s ability to connect with people was incredible. She inspired generations.
Inji was apparently quite often curious to find out what was inside a person’s handbag, purse or backpack, and would often head over to the window of her enclosure to take a peek.
Some volunteers, staff and guests would make a point to carry wind-up toys or brightly colored items in their bags just to show Inji.
She remained active and inquisitive all through her golden years. She seemed to study humans and enjoy watching them, especially children.
Orangutans out in the wild will not usually live beyond the age of 40, and so Inji’s longevity is understood to be quite unusual.
Later this year Oregon Zoo will open its Primate Forest, an expanded facility which will honour Inji upon its completion, Oregon Live reports.
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