Goodbye, Djasinga!

Sick orangutan is put to sleep

Female orangutan Djasinga (19) has been under constant observation from the Zoo Berlin team in recent weeks due to her poor health. At the end of last week, her condition deteriorated so badly that on Friday, 7 October the keepers decided it was time to put an end to her suffering. A subsequent examination confirmed suspicions that the orangutan’s chronic lung infection had become much more severe and would have been incurable.

Djasinga first developed health problems around six years ago when she was found to have an inflamed throat sac. Targeted treatment quickly cleared up the issue. But early this year her health deteriorated once again and she was clearly having trouble with her breathing. In the spring she was given a course of antibiotics, cough syrup to dissolve the mucus, and inhalation treatment to widen the airways. However, despite the dedication of her keepers and around-the-clock care, any improvement was only temporary. Towards the end, she was refusing to eat almost entirely. “After five months’ intensive treatment, during which Djasinga’s condition worsened nonetheless, we realised there was nothing more we could do for her,” said Zoo veterinarian Dr André Schüle. “It was very difficult for me and the keepers to bid farewell to Djasinga, especially after having cared for her so closely for such a long time.” An autopsy performed at the Leibniz Institute for Zoological and Wildlife Research (IZW) confirmed that the orangutan’s incurable chronic lung infection was very advanced with widespread scarring of the tissue, and must have been causing Djasinga considerable discomfort and distress. A precautionary Covid-19 test returned a negative result.

Djasinga was born at Dresden Zoo in 2003 and came to Berlin in June 2008. She is survived by female orangutans Bulan and Bini and male orangutan Mano.

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