Baby orangutan dies at Zoo Atlanta

Press Release 

Sandar had been under round-the-clock care since birth

ATLANTA – Sandar, a 3-month-old male Bornean orangutan at Zoo Atlanta, was euthanized on July 1, 2010, following multiple health complications since birth.

The Animal Management and Veterinary Teams made the difficult decision based on a progressive deterioration in his condition over the last two weeks and no hope of improvement in his prognosis.

"The Zoo staff and the many dedicated nurses, doctors and specialists from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta went above and beyond the call in doing everything possible to combat Sandar's many challenges and health complications. With his physical and developmental problems, he would never have survived this long in the wild," said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Senior Vice President of Collections, Education and Conservation.

A critical care resident of the Zoo Atlanta Veterinary Clinic since shortly after his birth to 18-year-old Miri on March 30, Sandar had experienced a series of recurrent illnesses that left him reliant on supplemental oxygen provided by Cornerstone Medical and a nasogastric feeding tube.

Despite round-the-clock care by Zoo veterinarians and nurses from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and ongoing efforts by pediatric specialists, Sandar's prognosis had been recently downgraded from guarded to grave.

"The Zoo Atlanta family is saddened by the passing of Sandar, particularly given the daily acts of determination and commitment that went into his treatment," said Raymond King, President and CEO. "The level of dedication and devotion that defined his care is unprecedented."

Had Sandar's condition improved, the Animal Management and Veterinary Teams were planning to reintroduce the infant to his parents, Miri and Sulango, and his brother, 6-year-old Satu.

A future reunion with Miri or a surrogate orangutan parent would have been critical to Sandar's development, as orangutan infants are entirely reliant on their mothers for critical life skills such as foraging and problem-solving. Orangutans have a longer dependent childhood than any other species, excepting only humans.

As is the case with all animal deaths, regardless of age, a necropsy will be performed at the University of Georgia through Zoo Atlanta's partnership with the Department of Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Zoo Atlanta is deeply grateful to the nurses from Children's, as well as to the specialists who devoted such energy and empathy to trying to help Sandar survive," King said. "We are also deeply grateful for the support of the many members of the community who have followed his story."

Source: Zoo Atlanta,