Health problems doomed Zoo Atlanta's infant orangutan

Sandar, a 3-month-old male Bornean orangutan, was euthanized two weeks ago because of multiple health complications since birth,  Zoo Atlanta said Wednesday.

Sandar, born March 30, had an enlarged heart and abnormal lungs, according to preliminary results from a necropsy conducted by UGA's pathology department in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Sandar was euthanized on July 1. The necropsy was conducted the following day.

The zoo expects to have final necropsy results after several weeks.

“Zoo Atlanta is grateful for the outstanding work, dedication and professionalism of our colleagues at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Raymond King, president and CEO. “We are extremely grateful to the nurses from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, as well as to the specialists who devoted such energy and empathy to trying to help Sandar survive."

Sandar was the youngest of Zoo Atlanta's 11 orangutans. The zoo has the largest orangutan population in the United States.

His birth was a coup for the Bornean orangutans -- an endangered species. But he weighed only 2.2 pounds, less than half the size that a newborn orangutan should.

Since his birth, he had been looked after by a team of zoo caretakers and 16 volunteer nurses from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Each sat for hours in a light green, windowless room inside the zoo's veterinary clinic, monitoring the tiny animal's oxygen levels and feeding him through a tube every few hours.