Houston, TX – A 45-year-old Orangutan named Rudi Valentino has passed away. According to the Houston Zoo, Rudi died shortly after his 45th birthday from advanced heart disease.
Rudi was born in December, 1977 at the Gladys Porter Zoo and he joined the Houston Zoo in 1993. In a news release, the zoo said:
Over the years, Rudi won the hearts of countless volunteers, guests, and staff members with his gentle nature and intelligent personality. He was a true ambassador for his species, raising awareness about the importance of conservation and the plight of endangered primates. Animal care professionals reported that Rudi was not showing signs of illness leading up to his death.
Tarah Cornelius, director of the zoo’s animal care, added:
“Rudi will be deeply missed by all who knew him, and his memory will live on through the lives he touched and the important work he inspired. He will always be remembered as a beloved member of the Houston Zoo family.”
The zoo’s animal care team is keeping a close eye on the remaining orangutans for signs of grief, with special attention to Rudi’s companion, Kelly.
Rest in Peace Rudi.
(Image via Houston Zoo)