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Zoo’s gibbon Zito passes

The Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo Monday announced the passing of Zito the Lar Gibbon.

Zoo Director and Curator Ashley Burdick said the announcement was made “with heavy hearts” by herself and zoo staff.

While they were not on public exhibit yet, Zito and his companion Rerun made sure to let people know they were there with their daily calls, which are a common behavior in this species. Zito came to the zoo in 2016 from Lincoln Children’s Zoo. He was born at the Omaha Zoo in 1994. 

Zookeepers reported that Zito started to act a little bit off with his keepers on Friday and over the last 24 hours his condition deteriorated rapidly, Burdick said. “Despite staff and the veterinarians’ best efforts, he passed early Sunday afternoon. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.” 

His cause of death is unknown at this time, but a necropsy was performed and samples were sent to K-state for further analysis. Results can take several weeks to receive.

“We are devastated and staff and Rerun are grieving over this unexpected loss. Keepers will be providing Rerun extra attention, enrichment and activities. Efforts to find another companion for Rerun will be made,” Burdick said.

“Our zookeepers make strong bonds with our zoo animals and while the public is sad also, please send caring thoughts to those that work with Zito on a daily basis. For more information please follow the Zoo’s Facebook page or you can call the zoo directly at 620-793-4226.”