Teak, Louisville Zoo’s beloved orangutan, dies at age of 36


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Louisville Zoo on Monday announced the death of Teak, a beloved orangutan, after a lengthy battle with heart disease. He was 36.

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In a news release, the zoo said that the Sumatran/Bornean hybrid male was humanely euthanized after his “multi-year battle” with heart problems.

“His longevity is a testament to his resilience and the exceptional care he received,” zoo officials wrote.

The orangutan’s had been deteriorating in recent months, leading zoo officials to euthanize him, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

“End-of-life decisions are always difficult, especially with a charismatic animal like Teak,” Zoli Gyimesi, the zoo’s senior staff veterinarian, said in a statement. “But his welfare and quality of life was always our highest priority throughout his care.”

According to the news release, Teak was born on Nov. 21, 1987, at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota. The primate, along with his half-sister, Amber, came to Louisville in 1996 from the Columbus Zoo in Ohio.

The half-siblings were featured in 1988 on “Late Night with David Letterman” with Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo, the news release stated.

Dan Maloney, director at the Louisville Zoo, said Teak will be missed.

“Teak was undeniably a Louisville Zoo celebrity. His remarkable personality made him a wonderful ambassador for his species, inspiring visitors of all ages to care about wildlife. While our staff feels the loss of any animal resident, we recognize the passing of Teak resonates as profoundly with our wider community as well,” Maloney said in a statement. “We are grateful for everyone who has visited and cared for Teak during his time in Louisville. He was a very special member of our Zoo family and will be greatly missed.”