Virginia Zoo mourning loss of young Bornean orangutan, Sofie

Posted at 3:08 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 15:09:04-05

NORFOLK, Va. – The Virginia Zoo is morning the death of their 1 1/2-year-old Bornean orangutan Sofie on Monday.

The Zoo says that despite nearly a full week of highly intensive, around-the-clock treatment and care, the young orangutan has passed away.

Veterinary and animal care staff had been providing care for Sofie since November 11 due to a severe infection that affected several critical body functions and that had resulted in serious secondary complications.

Throughout the past week, the Zoo’s veterinarian consulted with veterinary colleagues at other zoos, local veterinary emergency experts, human pediatric intensive care doctors and other medical experts to try and pull Sofie through this serious infection.

Sofie spent the last week being cared for similarly to how a human baby might be in a neonatal critical care unit– with intravenous lines providing medications and supplemental fluids, oxygen when needed, feeding tubes, supplemental heat, and constant monitoring of her critical body systems.

The Zoo’s veterinary and animal care staff provided Sofie with every viable option to try and help her recover, but unfortunately the infection ended up being too severe and ultimately a CT scan showed that her brain had irreparable massive swelling from the infection.

Due to the fatal prognosis, the difficult decision was made to help her pass pain-free through humane euthanasia, reports say. A necropsy was performed immediately after her passing, which confirmed multiple life-threatening issues throughout her body that she could not have recovered from, despite all of the support and treatment being given.

The Zoo is thankful for the heroic efforts given by our veterinary and animal care staff, as well as the help provided by colleagues at other zoos, local veterinary specialist Dr. Amanda Traub, and all of the human medical doctors that provided their significant expertise to Sofie’s diagnosis and treatment.