Chantek – One of the first apes to learn sign language dies at 39
Orangutans are considered geriatric after the age of about 35.
New Delhi: One of the first apes to learn sign language – Chantek, the orangutan – passed away in the US state of Georgia. He was 39.
According to a report in the BBC, Chantek died in Zoo Atlanta – his residence since 1997. The zoo officials grieved the ape's death saying that Chantek had "an engaging personality" and would be deeply missed.
One of the oldest male orangutans in North American zoos, Chantek's cause of death is unknown, however, he was being treated for progressive heart disease.
Orangutans are considered geriatric after the age of about 35, the zoo added.
Chantek was born at the Yerkes National Primate Research Centre in Georgia and was sent to live with anthropologist Lyn Miles at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
He was transferred to Zoo Atlanta in 1997.
A 2014 documentary called "The Ape Who Went to College" showed that Chantek had learned various skills there, including cleaning his room and directing a driving route from the university to a restaurant.
(With IANS inputs)