Credit: Usti nad Labem Zoo

Ferda, World’s Second Oldest Male Orangutan, Put Down at Usti Zoo

Ferda, the oldest male orangutan in Europe and the second oldest in the world, has been put down at Usti nad Labem Zoo due to his severe health condition, the zoo announced on its website.

Ferda, born in 1969, had a diseased heart, arthritis in his spine, and was suffering from shortness of breath. His problems worsened in the past week, and keeping him alive with high doses of medication would be an unnecessary ordeal, experts said.

With the departure of Ferda, the zoo has temporarily stopped breeding orangutans, as the other individuals have previously left for other zoos.

Ferda was born in 1969 in the Frankfurt am Main zoo, Germany, and was a cross between a Bornean and a Sumatran orangutan. At the age of three, he moved to Prague Zoo. As a crossbreed, he could not be included in the breeding programme, so he was never paired with a female. After devastating floods hit Prague Zoo in 2002, Ferda moved to Usti nad Labem.

Apart from his deteriorating health condition, he also recently showed difficulties and behavioural disorders typical of the elderly, including tremors in his limbs, cognitive impairment, and mood swings.

“For a long time he was given supportive medication and analgesics, he was given natural geriatrics to slow down the age-related behavioural disorders, but in the last week the problems worsened significantly,” said veterinarian Jana Matouskova.

The medication was no longer enough, so the zoo, after consulting with veterinarians, zoologists and breeders, decided that continuing to keep the animal alive with high doses of medication would not be humane and would subject the animal to unnecessary suffering.

Bornean orangutans were very popular among zoo visitors, and the zoo hopes to bring them back to Usti nad Labem. A new pavilion for orangutans is to be created by rebuilding the Asian Forest Pavilion.

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