48-year-old orangutan dies at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo

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Photo credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

SEATTLE (AP) — A 48-year-old orangutan at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo has died after struggling with respiratory problems.

The orangutan named Towan died Thursday during a veterinary examination. He had been taking medication for respiratory issues, which zoo officials say hadn’t improved his condition.

The birth of Towan and his sister, Chinta, at the Seattle zoo in 1968 received widespread attention as they became the first twin orangutans born in captivity.

Zoo officials described the 257-pound orangutan as an accomplished artist. He had worked with paint pens and colored chalks to make art, which sold for up to $1,000.

A statement released by the zoo’s mammal curator, Martin Ramirez, says Towan’s death represents a “deep loss for our zoo family and those who came to love and admire him as we have.”