Caring for an aged Siamang Ape

Caring for an aged Siamang Ape

#Dubbo Wildlife Hospital, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 04th September 2020 by Media Relations

Siamang Ape Saudara is a much loved resident of Taronga Western Plains Zoo. He recently had a physical health examination as part of the Zoo’s aged animal assessment program at the Wildlife Hospital.

Saudara is almost 33 years old. It is important to monitor older animals more closely to ensure they are in good health and continue to be in good health as they progress into their twilight years.

“We want to make sure the health and well being of our animals are optimised throughout their lifespan,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo Veterinarian, Dr Michelle Campbell.

“There are three elements to an aged animal assessment, these include physical, mental and behavioural health evaluations.”

At the Wildlife Hospital the physical examination is undertaken and the information this generates is combined with other assessments in consultation with the keepers, animal managers and a behavioural scientist to provide an evaluation of the animal’s overall wellbeing.

A Siamang Ape’s expected longevity is approximately 40 years so when an individual hits their early thirties they will undergo a physical examination on a regular basis.

“The comprehensive assessment of physical health is really important as animals’ age, like as humans’ age, some of our body systems start to degenerate as we get older,” said Dr Campbell.

“During the examination Saudara had a dental assessment, we checked his skin, eyes and ears. We conducted blood tests to check on his kidney, pancreatic and liver function and we also checked his joint health and body condition.”

“Saudara’s health check went really well and we were very pleased with his overall physical health,” said Dr Campbell.

Saudara’s joints in particular were in excellent condition for his age which is really important for Siamang Apes’ agility as they move around their habitat using their arms to swing from tree to tree.

“Saudara also had good dental health however we did take the opportunity to give his teeth a clean whilst he was at the Wildlife Hospital.”

“We will be altering his care slightly based on some minor changes in his blood work and this will also be something we keep a close eye on at check-ups in future years,” said Dr Campbell.