BROOKFIELD, Ill. — The Brookfield Zoo lost one of its longest tenured residents Sunday.
Ben, a 44-year-old Bornean Orangutan, was humanely euthanized with his animal care staff by his side, according to the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS).
CZS said Ben has dealt with heart disease, arthritis and spinal degeneration over the last 10 years. While medication helped Ben deal with symptoms from each medical diagnosis, his condition severely deteriorated over the last week to the point that surgery was no longer an option.
With surgery out of the picture and veterinary staff unable to keep Ben from experiencing pain due to his conditions, animal health and care teams made the decision to move forward with euthanasia.
“Ben was such a gentle ape and an incredible father. He could often be seen interacting and playing with his offspring,” said Tim Snyder, vice president of animal care at the Brookfield Zoo. “Additionally, he had a very trusting relationship with his animal care specialists, and voluntarily participated in training sessions and his own health care. He will be greatly missed by the staff and the millions of guests who visited him.”
Ben was the second oldest Bornean Orangutan in the accredited North American zoo population upon his death and had been a resident at the Brookfield Zoo since 1992, when he arrived in the Chicagoland area on a breeding recommendation.
He and his mate, Sophia, had four offspring, two of whom — Kekasih and Heidi — still live at the Brookfield Zoo in the Tropic World: Asia habitat. On top of his four children, his family tree also includes four grandchildren and one great grandchild.