"She'll always be remembered for her gentle spirit," the Oregon Zoo said of Inji, the world's oldest known orangutan

By Eric Todisco
January 11, 2021 04:37 PM
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Credit: Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is mourning the loss of Inji, the world's oldest known orangutan.

Inji, a 61-year-old female Sumatran orangutan, was "humanely" euthanized by zoo officials on Sunday after her health had deteriorated, according to Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo's animal areas.

"We knew she couldn't live forever, but this really hurts, and I know many visitors are grieving along with us," Lee said in a statement, according to KIRO 7. "Inji's ability to connect with people was incredible. She inspired generations."

Orangutans who live in the wild rarely live past the age of 40, the zoo shared in their release regarding Inji's passing. In Inji's case, she made it to her late 50s before she began to slow down physically and mentally.

"She was moving stiffly, rarely left her nest box, and was no longer interested in even her favorite foods," said Lee, who added that the decision to euthanize Inji came once the primate's pain medications stopped providing her relief.

Inji, born on an unknown date in 1960, came to the United States through wild animal trade while it was still legal and was brought to the Oregon Zoo by her owner, KIRO 7 reported.

Following Inji's death, the zoo posted a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, mourning the loss of the beloved ape.

"Inji inspired generations to take action for her species, including her care staff, who now help rehab orphaned orangutans in Indonesia," the zoo wrote. "They kept Inji in great shape throughout her life, and their close bond brought her comfort in her golden years. She'll always be remembered for her gentle spirit."

According to KIRO 7, the Oregon Zoo plans to honor Inji at its Primate Forest, a new habitat for chimpanzees and orangutans that is scheduled to open this spring.