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The ABQ BioPark is heartbroken at the unexpected death of siamang Brian

Bacterial infection affecting the Zoo’s gorillas, orangutans and siamangs.

August 17, 2021 - The ABQ BioPark Zoo is heartbroken by the loss of Brian, a 32-year-old male siamang, who passed away on August 16, 2021, likely due to complications from a contagious infection caused by the Shigella bacteria.

“We are simply heartbroken to lose such a beloved member of our Zoo family,” said ABQ BioPark Director Stephanie Stowell. “Brian was a great dad and we are going to miss his morning vocal duets with Johore. This is a sad day for our BioPark team.”

The Zoo recently announced that a bacterial infection had been observed among the BioPark’s gorillas and orangutans. On Sunday, August 8, Kojo, a male western lowland gorilla, was thought to have an isolated case of gastrointestinal distress, which quickly cleared with treatment. Soon after, Rubi, a female orangutan, started to show signs of an upset stomach. On Wednesday, August 11, Hasani, another male gorilla, started to show symptoms. A connection was suspected and quarantine started. By Friday, August 13, Brian the siamang also began to show symptoms. 

Animal care staff took immediate action to treat the primates. The impacted gorillas, orangutans and siamangs are responding positively to their treatment but the BioPark animal care team will remain cautious until all apes fully recover. Veterinary staff remain most concerned about Hasani, a 17-year-old male gorilla, who is currently in critical condition, and Huerfanita, a geriatric 48-year-old female gorilla, who is currently showing moderate symptoms.

“Our veterinary team and animal care professionals have been working hard to treat the affected apes since we discovered they were sick last week,” said Stowell. “The passion and dedication of our primate and veterinary teams is without question and we will continue to fight for the rest of our animals until they recover.”

Brian was born at the Brookfield Zoo and came to the ABQ BioPark in 2003. He was mate to Johore, with whom he had five offspring.  He has sired a total of seven offspring.