PHOENIX – The Phoenix Zoo says North America's oldest Bornean orangutan has died after a battle with lymphatic cancer.
Zoo spokeswoman Linda Hardwick says 52-year-old Duchess was euthanized Sunday morning. She lived well beyond the 40-year life expectancy of orangutans in the wild.
Hardwick says Duchess was diagnosed with the cancer about two weeks ago after keepers noticed her loss of appetite and lethargy. The Arizona Republic reports that zoo veterinarians determined that she only had a few weeks left to live.
Duchess was born in the Borneo jungle and was just 2 years old when the zoo opened in 1962. She gave birth seven times, and most of her offspring live at various zoos around the country.
Duchess was one of the zoo's few remaining original animals.