News Release


Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
May 21, 2016
Note: A photo of Maggie may be downloaded below.
Maggie 2016

Chicago Zoological Society Saddened by Loss of Beloved Orangutan

Brookfield, Ill.—There are heavy hearts at Brookfield Zoo at the recent loss of a beloved animal—Maggie, a nearly 55-year-old orangutan. Over the past several weeks, Maggie showed a gradual decline in her health, as degenerative changes associated with her advanced age began to severely impact her quality of life.  With Maggie’s worsening condition, staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize her yesterday, May 20.

Afflicted with many of the same ailments that affect elderly people, including arthritis, heart disease, hypothyroidism, and round cell sarcoma, animal care and veterinary staff had maintained Maggie’s health and comfort for many years through their advanced professional care. Throughout her life at Brookfield Zoo, Maggie received regular preventative care examinations by the zoo’s veterinary staff.  In recent years, that level of care expanded to routinely include diagnostic procedures such as cardiac ultrasound and CT scans performed at the zoo’s state-of-the-art animal hospital. 

Maggie, the second oldest known confirmed female Bornean orangutan worldwide, was described as curious, intelligent, and playful by the primate staff who cared for her. She was born at San Diego Zoo in 1961, and while there, she gave birth to four offspring. In 1995, she arrived at Brookfield Zoo and served a very important role as a surrogate mother to two infants. The most recent is Kecil, who is now 2½ years old.

From the day Maggie and Kecil were introduced to each other, staff noticed positive interactions. With her calm demeanor, Maggie engaged Kecil in play, slept with him, and when he first ventured out to his new habitat in Tropic World: Asia, she was always protective and nearby. With the passing of Maggie, Kecil will not be alone. In recent months, animal care staff have initiated “play dates” between Kecil and Kekasih, a 7½-year-old female orangutan. The “play dates” have been going very well, and soon, he will meet Kekasih’s mother, Sophia, 35.


Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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