Siamang thought to be oldest of its kind in human care dies at Point Defiance Zoo

·2 min read

A siamang thought to be the oldest of its kind in human care in the United States has died at a Tacoma zoo.

According to a news release from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, on Tuesday the siamang named Cho Cho was humanely euthanized after experiencing a decline in health.

According to the release, Cho Cho’s life took a turn over the past week where his quality of life was worsening.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf explained in the release that measures were taken to help Cho Cho get better, but nothing seemed to work.

“Cho Cho was having difficulty moving around his habitat due to progressive osteoarthritis. He was receiving multiple pain medications to ease his discomfort, and his keepers had modified his habitat to make it easier for him to move around. Despite these efforts, Cho Cho continued to decline,” Wolf said in the given statement.

According to the news release, the zoo is awaiting Cho Cho’s necropsy results to see if the siamang’s health decline might have been caused by his arthritis.

Cho Cho the siamang died at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma this week.
Cho Cho the siamang died at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma this week.

Siamangs are a part of the primate family and are the largest species of gibbon. According to the release, Cho Cho was 55 years old and lived long past the median life expectancy of siamangs that are in human care, which is 27 years.

Even at his advanced age, the zoo reported, Cho Cho would swing with his companion Dudlee. As described by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium assistant curator Erin Carey, he was always helpful with his check-ups, whether by stepping up on the scale or opening his mouth for the dentist. Carey also highlighted that Cho Cho was observant and always loved a sweet treat.

“He was a very clever ape and will be sorely missed … He loved chicken and peanut butter, but had a sweet tooth, too,” Carey said. “He would never turn down an orange or kiwi.”

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