A 24-year-old orangutan who had just been moved to the new Great Ape Trust Learning Center in Des Moines has died. Indah was euthanized at Iowa State University’s Vet Med Center after surgery on Thursday revealed severe problems and doctors decided she could not be saved. Al Setka, a spokesman for the Great Ape Trust, says Indah’s recent move from a zoo in Washington, D.C. to Des Moines did not contribute to her death. Setka says Indah had suffered from bowel problems most of her life. Doctors performed surgery to deal with what they thought was an obstructed intestinal tract, and found her condition was untreatable. Indah’s 27-year-old brother, Azy, is still iving at the Primate Learning Center on Des Moines’ east side. Setka says it’s not clear how Azy will react to Indah’s death. Setka says in the wild, male orangutans spend a lot of time alone, so being alone isn’t uncommon. Azy was calm on Friday, but Setka says they’ll closely monitor Azy’s mood. Setka says they need to move forward with research with Azy, and hope other organatans come live at the center and participate in its research.Setka says the research with the organatans and eventually chimpanzees that are expected to live at the site will focus on their intelligenace, cognitive abilities and communication skills. Setka says at least 200-thousand people at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. got to witness a research program that the dead ape, Indah, participated in. Setka says the groundbreaking results of that research project are Indah’s legacy.
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