The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo staff are mourning the loss of Rerun, an older female lar gibbon.
Zoo Curator and Supervisor Ashley Burdick posted the news on the zoo’s Facebook page Thursday afternoon.
“This is the part you don’t see, the aftermath of spending hours trying to save an animal. Trying everything you can think of to help pull them through. The tears shed for a member of our family. It is with immense sadness that we share the passing of Rerun, the nearly 34-year-old lar gibbon.
“Rerun came to the zoo back in 2017 and prior to arriving here she had a stroke that affected her mobility. She adapted very well and her territorial calls could often be heard even outside of the zoo. Last week we performed a routine physical as we’ve done every year. During this physical we must give Tuberculosis tests to our primates, (administer) vaccines, draw blood and take x-rays. Over the years Rerun has exhibited changes in her heart and lungs consistent with older age,” Burdick reported.
She recovered from her physical normally and was returned to the lar gibbons’ inside stall for the evening. The zoo is also home to Manny, a younger male lar gibbon.
“During morning checks the next day she was found laying down and in respiratory distress. Our veterinarians and keepers administered several medications to help if it was a complication from anesthesia and tried several things to help her improve. Staff kept her on an oxygen mask throughout the morning, but she continued to deteriorate.”
The zoo conducts thorough necropsies on its animals and send samples to K-state, Burdick noted. “Preliminary results show her kidneys were failing and there were some abnormalities in many of her other organ systems. Her blood work from the previous day corroborated that. Unfortunately, just as in humans, anesthesia can exacerbate issues and cause complications. But they are also necessary to monitor changes. Full histopathology results can take several months to get back. Her increasing age and previous health issues were contributing factors to her rapid decline.
“Manny our younger male seems to be coping well. He was given the opportunity to say goodbye to Rerun and keepers have been spending extra time with him. He also has mobility issues from an infection prior to moving here, so it may take some time to find another companion for him. In the meantime, he will get all the attention and be spoiled by our keepers. Please keep our staff in your thoughts as this is a particularly difficult loss for us.”