Houston Zoo’s orangutan Rudi has died at the age of 45

At 45, Rudi is the oldest male orangutan in North America. He’s been at the zoo since he was two months old.

HOUSTON — After celebrating his 45th birthday earlier this month, the oldest male orangutan in North America has died after the Houston Zoo.

Editor’s Note: The main video in this story is from Rudi’s birthday party.

The zoo posted to Facebook Wednesday:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved zoo family member, Rudi Valentino, North America’s oldest male orangutan. He died just days after turning 45. Rudi joined the Houston Zoo in 1978 and over the years, he won the hearts of countless volunteers, guests and staff with his gentle nature and intelligent personality.

“Rudi had advanced heart disease, which is a common problem in adult male orangutans. Until his death, she was treated very well with careful monitoring and medication.”

He was born on December 8, 1977 at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, according to the zoo. He came to the Houston Zoo in 1978. In 1991 Rudi moved to the Milwaukee Zoo and in 1993 back to Houston.

For his birthday this month, his animal care team gave him his favorite treats and sang “Happy Birthday” to him! He enjoyed the attention of his keepers and the search for treats.

Zookeepers reported that Rudi showed no signs of illness that led to his death.

“Rudi was an incredible ambassador for his species,” said Tarah Cornelius, director of animal care at the Houston Zoo. “Rudi will be greatly missed by all who knew him and his memory will live on through the lives he touched and the important work he inspired. He will always be remembered as a beloved member of the Houston Zoo family.”

The zoo said its animal care team will be keeping an eye on Rudi’s mate Kelly and the other remaining orangutans Takai, Cheyenne and Aurora for signs of grief.

https://www.kvue.com/article/life/animals/houston-zoo-oldest-orangutan-dies/285-0cc8f6d9-7d29-4d39-9bc5-d0f1d56fc287 Houston Zoo’s orangutan Rudi has died at the age of 45

Laura Coffey

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