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Farewell to colobus companions, Pokey and Lambchop

Posted by: Gigi Allianic, Communications

Yesterday we said goodbye to Pokey and Lambchop. At 30 years old, the two were among the oldest black-and-white colobus monkeys in North America. Lifetime companions, Pokey and Lambchop produced four offspring and eventually grew old together. After a period of age-related physical decline, the elderly pair was humanely euthanized.

Lambchop was born at Woodland Park Zoo and Pokey lived at the zoo for 24 years. Colobus monkeys can live up to 33 years in zoos and up to 20 in the wild. Two females and a male colobus remain at the zoo in the award-winning Tropical Rain Forest exhibit.

As part of the zoo’s exemplary quality care program, the colobus monkeys were under a prescribed program to help manage their geriatric infirmities. “We medically managed their osteoarthritis with daily medications to help maintain their comfort and mobility, and provided nutrient-supplements for overall health,” said Dr. Kelly Helmick, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo. “They reached the point that the quality of their lives was compromised so we made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the monkeys.”

“It’s always hard losing animals, especially when caring for them over their lifetime. Lambchop and Pokey lived long, healthy lives in an enriching exhibit at the zoo. Their old age is testament to the excellent care they received by our zookeepers and animal health staff. We will miss them,” said Mark Myers, a curator at Woodland Park Zoo.

As a standard procedure, the zoo’s animal health team performed a necropsy (an animal autopsy) on each monkey. In addition to osteoarthritis, findings revealed recent changes in health supported other age-related decline, according to Helmick. The cause of death is pending final pathology tests in several weeks.

In the pair’s lifetime, colobus monkeys have lost ground in Africa, but there is hope. Every time you visit, you help us support Colobus Conservation Ltd. through our Wildlife Survival Fund conservation program, and good work is underway to protect and reforest colobus habitat in Africa.

We know you’ll join us in remembering this well loved pair and celebrating hope for a species.