But despite numerous associations with female orangutans, including his most recent companion, 44-year-old Biji, Alan had no offspring.
Zoo Atlanta is home to North America’s largest collection of orangutans. Lori Perkins, the zoo’s vice president of collections, is the national chair of the Orangutan SSP (species survival plan), which seeks to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically diverse population within North American zoos.
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered, with fewer than 7,000 individuals believed to remain in the wild. Wild populations have declined drastically in recent years as a result of habitat conversion to palm oil plantations, over-harvesting of timber, and human encroachment. Experts predict that the species could be extinct in the wild within 10 years without targeted conservation efforts.
As is the case with all animal deaths regardless of age, a necropsy will be performed through the zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine.