Nikko, the oldest male snow monkey in North America, died Sunday, Minnesota Zoo officials said. He was 34.
Nikko was born in September 1983 at the Parc Safari, a zoo in Quebec, Canada. He was transferred to a facility at the University of California, Davis, then lived at the Indianapolis Zoo and the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kan., before being moved to Minnesota in 2001.
“It is never easy to lose an animal that you have worked with for so many years,” said Tom Ness, curator of the zoo’s Minnesota and Tropics Trail. “Nikko’s age is a true testament to the amazing care we provide our animals here at the Minnesota Zoo. Nikko was a very special animal, and it has been a tough few days.”
According to the studbook, an international record-keeping system similar to a pedigree, Nikko was the oldest male snow monkey in North America. Zoo officials estimate that Nikko lived longer than 99.5 percent of other known male snow monkeys.
Typical life expectancy for male snow monkeys is 18, the zoo said.
The Minnesota Zoo participates in the Species Survival Program for snow monkeys. The purpose is to “breed snow monkeys in order to maintain genetically healthy populations in zoos and aquariums,” the zoo said.
Since 1978, 116 snow monkeys have been born at the zoo and 38 have gone into the species survival program. The zoo now has 25 snow monkeys.