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One of oldest orangutans in U.S. dies at St. Louis Zoo

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Junior the orangutan (Photo credit: Carol Weerts, Saint Louis Zoo)

By KWMU / AP

St. Louis, MO – One of the oldest orangutans in the country died Tuesday, at the St. Louis Zoo. Junior was thought to be about 44 years old.

The animal was euthanized Tuesday after declining health - including severe arthritis - made him reluctant to eat and play.

Zoo officials say Junior was the third-oldest male in the national Orangutan Species Survival Plan population. He was born in Sumatra and came to the U.S. in 1963. He first lived at zoos in Tulsa and Memphis, before coming to St. Louis in 1992. His move here was part of a national surival plan; and he sired an offspring that was born in 1995.

Zoo officials say orangutans from Junior's part of the world are critically endangered.

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