Nonja, the Sumatran Orangutan at Miami
Metrozoo, believed to be the oldest living Sumatran Orangutan in the
world, is seen in this file photo taken in June 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters
BEIJING, Dec. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- A
55-year-old Sumatran orangutan, thought to be the world's oldest, has died in
Miami, a zoo spokesman said Sunday.
Nonja, who was born in the wild on the Indonesian
island of Sumatra in June 1952, was found dead by her keeper on Saturday
morning, Miami Metro Zoo spokesman Ron Magill said.
"Everybody's very sad, especially with an animal like
an orangutan," Magill said. "You see a lot of yourself in these animals. The
great apes are our closest relatives."
Nonja, which means "girl" in Dutch, came to Metrozoo
in October 1983 from the Wassenar Zoo in Holland and was well known by zoo
visitors. Each June, the zoo hosted a huge bash to celebrate her birthday.
According to Magill, a typical life span for Sumatran
orangutans is 40 to 50 years. "She was really a grand old dame," Magill said.
Zoo officials said she had begun to show signs of
age, but was not sick. A necropsy is to be performed in the next few days to
find the cause of her death.
The orangutan had five babies, who produced two
babies of their own. According to the Sumatran Orangutan Society, there were
7,300 Sumatran orangutans in the wild in 2003.