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The ABQ Biopark Says a Heart-breaking Goodbye to Tonka the Sumatran Orangutan

Tonka, 44, was the second oldest male Sumatran orangutan in the United States.
February 16, 2024

The ABQ BioPark is heartbroken to share the news that Tonka, the beloved male orangutan, was compassionately euthanized today due to advanced kidney disease.

Tonka lived a long and rich life at the BioPark, and at age 44 at his passing, he was the second oldest male Sumatran orangutan in the United States. He was a very special member of our troop and was well known for his massive facial discs and his long locks of hair.

Sumatran orangutans are listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. Tonka was not only an incredible orangutan ambassador for BioPark guests who adored him, he left a legacy through his five offspring. Henry, Tara and Reese each live at separate zoos, and Pixel and Bulan still reside at the BioPark.

Tonka was diagnosed with kidney disease over six years ago, and he was an active participant in his health care. Tonka received treatments to relieve his symptoms, but there is not a cure for kidney disease. Thanks to the care he received, Tonka lived in comfort well beyond the median life expectancy of 25.4 years.

Tonka spent the last chapter of his life in the primate habitats in Asia. He and the entire orangutan troop explored expansive new spaces with opportunities to swing and climb. Tonka especially enjoyed climbing to the highest platform that offers 360° views of the bosque, elephants, giraffes, the surrounding neighborhood, and more.

The rest of the orangutan troop is doing well, and our care team is keeping an extra-close eye on them as they adjust to Tonka’s absence.

ATTN: MEDIA: You can download a version of the video for b-roll or SOT here