facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Milwaukee Zoo says death of young orangutan caused by tapeworm

May 21, 2013 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

MILWAUKEE, May 21 (UPI) -- Officials at the Milwaukee County Zoo say the death of Mahal, a young orangutan immensely popular with visitors, was caused by a severe tapeworm infection.

The determination was made after months of work and DNA examination by epidemiologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Tissue from Mahal, who died Dec. 29, showed traces of what was eventually identified as tapeworm DNA, Bruce Beehler, the zoo's deputy director of animal management and health said.

"It was an astonishing performance in diagnosis -- unimaginable a few years ago," he said.

The death of Mahal at age 5 shocked zookeepers and zoo visitors alike, as orangutans normally have a life expectancy of 30 years or more.

The tapeworm was the cause of "an overwhelming infection" that had spread throughout the orangutan's body to major organs, including his liver and lungs, Beehler said.

Mahal was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2007 but after being rejected by his mother he was flown to the Milwaukee zoo in 2008 to live with a surrogate mother, becoming one of the zoo's star attractions.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Next-generation space suits will be like second skin Next-generation space suits will be like second skin
2
2014 summer was hottest on record, NOAA says 2014 summer was hottest on record, NOAA says
3
Ship sunk off coast of Texas to create artificial reef Ship sunk off coast of Texas to create artificial reef
4
Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware Report: Facebook Messenger app is loaded with spyware
5
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to join climate march U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to join climate march
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback