Hsinchu Zoo recently reopened to the public at the end of last year following a major refurbishment. The newly remodeled zoo, which features more spacious animal enclosures and improved visitor flow, has been attracting large numbers of visitors on a daily basis. Within the zoo’s tropical rainforest zone, the exercise area for an orangutan, named Baby, is now several times larger than before, initially making the red-haired primate a star attraction after the zoo reopened its doors.
However, at approximately 2pm on Friday last week, a member of the public posted a message on Professional Technology Temple (PTT), the nation’s largest online bulletin board system, announcing that the orangutan had fallen from a tree, setting the bulletin board alight.
According to the zoo, a visitor saw the orangutan fall from a tree and immediately informed a member of staff who rushed to administer first aid. However, due to the orangutan’s age, and because she was sleeping when she fell to the ground, the zoo’s veterinarians were unable to save the animal and soon after announced Baby had passed away.
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu Zoo
The zoo’s director, Yang Chia-min, says that veterinarians took steps to maintain the orangutan’s body temperature, and also gave it oxygen, however after half an hour in the emergency room, medical staff were forced to terminate treatment. Baby’s body has been sent to National Chung Hsing University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for dissection and for a postmortem to be carried out.
Yang says that Baby was over 30 years old and came to the zoo in 2002 after she was abandoned by her owner. Having been a resident of the zoo for 18 years, and due to her advancing years, Baby had been suffering from various age-related symptoms, including loss of appetite. However, Yang says that after zoo keepers incorporated vitamin supplements and high energy foods into Baby’s diet, the animal returned to good health. Yangs says that Baby likely sustained serious injuries after the fall and was unable to recover.
Yang adds that the zoo was originally home to another orangutan: a male called Hsiung-ta, but who is currently housed at Taipei Zoo as part of a breeding program. Baby did not go with her mate and continued to reside at Hsinchu Zoo.
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu Zoo
(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
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