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Zoo Atlanta Mourns the Loss of Dumadi the Orangutan

The Zoo Atlanta community is shocked and saddened to share that Dumadi, a 13-year-old male Sumatran orangutan, was found deceased by his care team in the early morning hours of March 19, 2020. Dumadi had shown no clinical signs of abnormalities in the days prior to his death.

“The unexpected loss of Dumadi is devastating for the Zoo Atlanta community and is a great loss for his critically endangered species,” said Hayley Murphy, DVM, Deputy Director. “We are doing all that we can to understand what happened.”

A necropsy, or the non-human equivalent of an autopsy, will be performed through the Zoo’s partnership with the University of Georgia Zoo and Exotic Animal Pathology Service in the College of Veterinary Medicine, in an effort to learn more about the cause of Dumadi’s unexpected death. Pathology results should be available in several weeks.

Born October 22, 2006, at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana, Dumadi was orphaned by his mother’s sudden death shortly after his birth. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Orangutan Species Survival Plan® (SSP) recommended that he move to Zoo Atlanta to meet Madu, an adult female Sumatran orangutan who had no biological offspring of her own but who had successfully adopted another orangutan infant a few years prior. Dumadi became the second of Madu’s four adopted infants and is survived by Madu, 36, and his adoptive brother and sister, Remy, 9, and Keju, 4. He is predeceased by his eldest adoptive brother Bernas.

In addition to a great personal loss for his care team and the many Members, guests and friends of the Zoo who had an opportunity to watch him grow up at Zoo Atlanta, Dumadi’s death is a difficult setback for a critically endangered species. Urgently threatened by habitat loss, largely as a result of deforestation for commercial palm oil production in their native southeast Asia, orangutans face extinction within a decade without targeted conservation efforts. Home to one of North America’s largest populations of orangutans, Zoo Atlanta is one of only a small number of zoos to pursue and attain membership in the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil™ (RSPO). The Zoo and many other accredited zoos are vocal advocates for encouraging the use of only sustainable palm oil, supporting only companies who use sustainably produced oil and celebrating those corporations who make the switch to sustainable, and raising public awareness of the necessity for informed shopping.

Rachel Davis
Director of Communications
404.624.2812 – office
404.309.2238 – cell

Gavin Johnson
Public Relations and Communications Specialist
404.624.5980 – office

About Zoo Atlanta
A proud accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the gold standard for animal care and welfare, Zoo Atlanta has a mission to save wildlife and their habitats through conservation, research, education and engaging experiences. The Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals representing more than 200 species from around the world, many of them endangered or critically endangered. Highlights include giant pandas, including Ya Lun and Xi Lun, the only giant panda twins in the U.S.; one of North America’s largest zoological populations of great apes; and a global center of excellence for the care and study of reptiles and amphibians. Recent transformations include Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, home to more than 70 species in the world’s first LEED Gold-certified reptile and amphibian complex. Experiences include behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters with African lions, Aldabra giant tortoises, giant pandas and lemurs. Zoo Atlanta is open year-round with the exceptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Keeper Talks, interactive wildlife presentations, education programs and special events run year-round. For more information, visit

NOW OPEN: the all-new African Savanna, featuring new and expanded habitats for African elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostriches, warthogs and meerkats. Coming soon: southern white rhino.

NOW OPEN FOR EVENTS: Savanna Hall, a state-of-the-art special event destination in the newly-restored historic former home of the Atlanta Cyclorama. Highlights include the Michael & Thalia Carlos Ballroom, a two-level space with sweeping views into the African Savanna; the Delta Savanna Terrace; multi-purpose meeting venues; and more.

The African Savanna and Savanna Hall are part of the Zoo’s landmark Grand New View transformation. Future elements include an enhanced entry plaza, opening in early 2020. For more on the Zoo’s mission and conservation programs and partnerships, visit or download the conservation report, Beyond the Zoo.

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