It is with heavy hearts that we let you know of the passing of Kasih, our rambunctious 11-year-old Bornean orangutan.
In the past two weeks, Kasih (pronounced Kuh-see) started showing signs of a sudden, serious neurological disease. An emergency MRI on Thursday showed a large brain mass. She was being medically evaluated and treated but her condition declined quickly. She passed away Saturday morning. The Zoo’s Executive Vice President of Animal Health and Collections, Dr. Gary West, is working with teams at Midwestern University Veterinary School on pathology and necropsy evaluation and we will send follow-up information as soon as it is available.
Kasih was born at the Phoenix Zoo on January 27, 2006. Kasih’s parents, Bess (38-years-old) and Michael (30-years-old), both Bornean orangutans, are still at the Zoo. From a young age, Kasih was independent and outgoing. She was the first orangutan to figure out any problem, and could be characterized as lovingly mischievous. She enjoyed wrestling with her mom, playing and carrying around her three-year-old brother, Jiwa, bugging her father, teasing her on-again/off-again companion, Daniel (the 11-year-old unrelated male), as well as pestering and playing with her late grandmother, Duchess. Kasih was very playful and very sweet with her keepers. She was a delight to train and could easily learn new behaviors in a matter of minutes.
Kasih always held a special place in her keepers’ hearts, and always will. She will be missed not only by her keepers, both past and present, but by all of the Zoo’s staff, volunteers and certainly by Zoo guests and friends.