Satu, beloved orangutan at San Diego Zoo, dies at 26

An orangutan chews on a stick.
Satu the orangutan chews on a stick at the San Diego Zoo in May 2020. He died last week.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Satu, a 26-year-old male orangutan, died last week after collapsing at the San Diego Zoo, zoo officials said.

The zoo, which announced the orangutan’s death on Facebook, said in an emailed statement that the ape had been under veterinary care for a serious illness, with initial findings suggestive of cancer. The zoo said he recovered well from a recent medical exam but collapsed on Wednesday and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

“Satu was known to be patient, curious, engaging and sensitive. He will be greatly missed by the wildlife care specialists, medical team, volunteers and guests alike,” the zoo said.

Satu was born at the zoo in 1995. He sired two offspring, a male named Cinta and a female named Aisha.


With Satu’s death, the zoo now has three orangutans: Aisha, Karen and Indah.