|Our big guy, Towan. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news today: our sweet old fellow, Towan, has passed away. The 48-year-old orangutan—the oldest in North America born in a zoo—was feeling the aches and pains of getting older, and he passed during a medical examination that was needed to find a new treatment plan to help with respiratory issues that were not responding to medicine.
His keepers were by his side, and from the outpouring of love we saw yesterday when we first announced his pending examination, we know he was in all of your hearts as well.
|Towan (right) and his sister Chinta were the first twin orangutans born in a zoo, here at Woodland Park Zoo in 1968. Photo: Robert Kelley.|
This community has known and loved Towan since he was born here with twin sister Chinta back in 1968. Many of you watched him grow up and as the decades passed, he watched us too. He saw Woodland Park Zoo evolve, he saw countless kids become parents and teachers with kids of their own, and he observed what inevitably happens to each of us as we come upon him: we slow down, we stand back in awe for a moment, and then we come in closer, feeling a magnetic pull to look into his eyes where we find wisdom, connection, inspiration.
|Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.|
|A child marks with a handprint his pledge to protect orangutans like Towan. Photo: Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.|
Here’s what we owe Towan: a promise to come together and fight for a future for wild orangutans that are under threat of extinction.
|Orangutans need forests to survive, and though these forests are a world away, many of the products in our kitchen and bathroom cabinets are directly connected. Learn more about palm oil. |
Photo: Tim Laman/Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Program, a Woodland Park Zoo Partner for Wildlife.
We welcome you to share your photos and stories as we remember the big guy who will be missed by all.
|How many of you have had a moment just like this with Towan? Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.|