For Release: May 6, 2004
Sarah Taylor 202-673-0208
Carolyn Martin 202-673-0209
National Zoo Euthanizes Macaque
On Monday, April 26, animal care and veterinary staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park euthanized an elderly Sulawesi macaque. The macaque had a condition known as spondylosis -- an often painful condition of the backbones that affects the spinal cord -- for which it had been receiving long-term medication.
The 35-year old female macaque came to the Zoo in 1995 along with several other macaques as a gift from the Oregon Regional Primate Center in Beaver, Oregon. Recently, staff noticed that it seemed a little weak, lethargic and was not socializing with the other animals. Veterinarians put the macaque on a 10-day treatment plan, but its condition did not improve with treatment. Animal care and veterinary staff agreed that the primate’s quality of life had deteriorated, and made the decision to euthanize the animal.
Sulawesi macaques are a critically endangered species native to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. They have black, compact bodies, very small tails and are distinguished by a crest of long hairs on the top of their head. As of 1998, fewer than 5,000 exist in the wild and about 100 are in zoos. Sulawesi macaques have a life span of 18 to 25 years in the wild, and have been known to live up to 40 years in captivity.
Six other macaques currently live at the Zoo in the popular Think Tank exhibit, where visitors can observe a range of macaque social behavior including lip smacking (a greeting), grimacing, grooming and mutual embraces.
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