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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Simon’s song comes to an end

Posted by Kirsten Pisto, Communications


We have some sad news to share: Our long-time resident Simon the siamang was humanely euthanized yesterday, Monday, Dec. 15, after showing signs of declining health related to long-term chronic illness. Simon was 34 years old.
Simon, photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.
Mammal curator Martin Ramirez remembers our operatic little dude. “Simon was a favorite of zoo guests and staff for the interest he showed in anyone who came to visit him. To the delight of our visitors, Simon would often leap from a branch in the back of his exhibit to the window sill to be closer to them.  His routine early morning calls were as much a part of the zoo opening as the daily PA announcement. His hoots could be heard across the zoo, even as he began to have trouble with the high notes.  He will be missed even by those who only knew him by his voice.”

Simon was hand raised until he moved to Woodland Park Zoo at 2 years old in 1982. He really enjoyed being around people and he quickly recognized faces he had seen before and liked interacting with them at the exhibit. A few regular visitors brought shiny objects to ‘share’ with Simon through the glass at his exhibit; they really connected with him and he was very inquisitive with them in return.

Simon and Briony. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.
Simon lived in the Trail of Vines exhibit with his partner Briony, who came to Woodland Park Zoo nearly six years ago in need of a new partner after losing her mate. According to Martin, Simon hugged Briony within the first hour of their introduction and the pair had maintained a strong bond ever since.

Simon and Briony drew large crowds to their exhibit a few times a day as they belted out their loud duet, which could last for about 15 minutes. “For more than three decades, Simon thrilled us every day singing from the treetops at earsplitting levels and swinging agilely from branch to branch. His song has come to an end and we, and surrounding neighborhoods who could hear the siamangs’ resonating duet, will deeply miss Simon” says Martin.

The zoo is now working with the Siamang Species Survival Plan for options for Briony and will be providing her with an accelerated enrichment program to help keep her stimulated and active as she adjusts to Simon’s departure.

Simon at the Trail of Vines. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.
It is never easy losing an animal, no matter how much we prepare ourselves. Thanks to the dedication of Simon’s keepers and our veterinary staff, Simon lived a long, active, enriching life at Woodland Park Zoo.

Wherever you are, please give a little howl, hoot or bark in honor of Simon!

Simon, singing his little heart out in the treetops. Photo by Dennis Dow, Woodland Park Zoo.


4 comments:

  1. Lovely story of a wonderful animal. I lived for several years on Canfield Street, near Tangletown. When I heard this pair, it always made me smile. All was right with the world.

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  2. Simon is part of my first memories of going to the zoo when I was a tiny child. Gonna miss that guy.

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  3. Out of the blue I was curious to see how Simon was doing. I grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley and have since moved to Montana. I haven't been home in a few years and planned to visit the zoo to see my favorite primate, Simon.

    I grew up curious about the siamang who loved to connect with zoo patrons. Finally when I was in my 20's I asked a docent about Simon and was surprised to hear he was my age!

    I am absolutely gutted to hear he is gone. I will still visit Woodland Park Zoo because it is amazing and their conservation efforts are inspiring, but it will never be the same. RIP Simon, your friend Michelle will miss you <3

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  4. Goodbye Simon. The girl in the blue hat will miss you. You filled my heart with joy.

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