Primate Keeper, Martina Hart, said: “Puan was born in the wild, so it took a lot of work to clarify her exact age, but from all the documentation, it is believed that Puan was born in 1956.”
“At 60 years of age, this makes her the oldest Sumatran Orangutan in the world!”
Puan has been cared for by Perth Zoo since 31 December 1968. As was common in that era she was gifted by the Sultan Johore in Malaysia in exchange for some Australian animals.
“Since arriving at the Zoo, Puan has gone on to become mother, grandmother and even great grandmother to some of our orangutans. She is the founder of our world famous breeding colony – her lineage extends far and wide.”
“She’s also been a fundamental part of our release program, helping prepare our zoo-born orangutans for wild life by teaching them how to make robust nests, one of the vital survival skills.”
“And, although she’s slowed down and likes to spend her day’s sunbaking, despite her great age, Puan has lost none of her attitude.”
“She’ll definitely tell you off and stamp her foot if she has to wait too long for her food,”
said Martina. “But she is the grand old dame of our colony and treated with the respect befitting a lady of her age.”
Puan has exceeded the usual life expectancy of her species. “In the wild, female Sumatran Orangutans rarely live past 50, so reaching 60 is a huge milestone,” said Martina.
With expert veterinary care and a constant supply of fresh food, Puan is a testament to the dedication of the Perth Zoo staff who care for her.
Sumatran Orangutan’s are critically endangered in the wild. Habitat loss for unsustainablepalm oil, rubber plantations, poaching and the illegal wildlife trade remain their biggest threats.
Perth Zoo is committed to Sumatran Orangutan conservation and is the only zoo in the world releasing zoo-born orangutan’s to protected habitat in the wild. The Zoo also supports the rehabilitation and release of ex-pet and illegally trafficked orangutans in partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological Society.
Perth Zoo visitors can find out more about Puan and Australasia’s largest orangutan colony during an Eye to Eye animal encounter.