Oldest reproductive orangutan dies in France

September 27, 2012
Major celebrates his 50th birthday at the La Boissiere-du-Doree zoo near Nantes, western France in July 2012. A Sumatran orangutan believed to be the oldest reproductive specimen in captivity has died at a zoo in western France.

A Sumatran orangutan believed to be the oldest reproductive specimen in captivity has died at a zoo in western France, a few weeks after celebrating his 50th birthday.

Major, a 125-kilogramme (275-pound) father of 16 who celebrated his birthday in July, died overnight Tuesday at the zoo in La Boissiere-du-Dore near Nantes, zoo director Sebastien Laurent said.

"I saw him playing on Monday, as he often did, with his children. On Tuesday he ate normally, made his bed and followed all his little habits," Laurent said.

"And on Wednesday the guys found him dead on his bed, his body still warm. He lived at the for 23 years and this is our mascot that has left us, it's hard," he said.

He said Major's body would be preserved and stored at the Museum of Natural History in Paris and could be used in future displays.

Born in 1962 in Indonesia, Major was captured seven years later and held in zoos in Germany before being transferred to France in 1989.

Explore further: Ohio zoo acquires daughter of late longest snake

Related Stories

World's oldest hippo dies at 62

August 3, 2012

Donna, believed to be the world's oldest hippo, has died at the age of 62 after living more than two decades beyond the massive mammal's usual life expectancy, zoo officials said.

Recommended for you

Why mole rats are more flexible than we previously thought

August 29, 2016

One of the most interesting facts about mole rats - that, as with ants and termites, individuals specialise in particular tasks throughout their lives - turns out to be wrong. Instead, a new study led by the University of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.