Perth Zoo has been saddened by the passing over the weekend of ‘Hsing Hsing’, the oldest male Sumatran Orangutan in the Zoo’s colony.

Hsing Hsing was diagnosed with diabetes 21 years ago. Despite ongoing veterinary treatment and consultations with external diabetic specialists, Hsing Hsing had recently been battling with various diabetic complications. This combined with his great age (42 years) ultimately claimed his life.

Through Hsing’s positive relationships with his keepers, he was trained to present his arm for daily insulin injections and also to have his blood glucose levels tested regularly. Such excellent care enabled him to live for decades with diabetes whilst siring five Sumatran Orangutans at Perth Zoo.

Hsing Hsing was a very special member of the Perth Zoo family and will be greatly missed. He was recognised by his dreadlocks and impressive vocal call that rang out across South Perth. His loud booming voice and formidable presence enforced his position as the dominant male in the 10 strong colony.

Although solitary creatures, Hsing Hsing shared a special relationship with female ‘Utama’. Zoo keepers gave her time with Hsing Hsing to process his passing. She will be carefully monitored over the coming weeks to ensure she adjusts to his loss.

Hsing Hsing was born at Singapore Zoo in 1975, the same year the critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans were declared a CITES 1 species, which affords them the highest degree of protection against international trade. However, wild numbers continue to decline due to habitat loss and the illegal trade in wildlife.

Those wishing to mark his passing are asked to consider a donation to Perth Zoo’s Wildlife Conservation Action in lieu of flowers. Proceeds will help assist Hsing Hsing’s critically endangered wild cousins in Indonesia.


Perth Zoo’s orangutan colony is recognised internationally as one of the most significant in the world, with an extremely successful breeding record as well as having been one of the first zoos to house and exhibit orangutans in their natural social structure. Perth Zoo is also the only zoo in the world releasing Sumatran Orangutans back to the wild.

Hsing Hsing was a typical dominant male and quite territorial but did like the company of female orangutan ‘Utama’. He would often play with her, but not in front of keepers in order to maintain his dominant male image.

Perth Zoo’s colony consists of adult and young orangutans, including matriarch ‘Puan’, who at approximately 61 years of age is the oldest Sumatran Orangutan in the world having recently been awarded a Guinness World Record.

The average lifespan for an orangutan is thought to be approximately 35-40 years in the wild.

Perth Zoo is heavily involved in orangutan conservation projects and funds a rehabilitation and release program for orangutans in Sumatra, Indonesia. More than 175 ex-pet and illegally kept orangutans have been returned to the jungles through this program.