Miami-Dade County

She was there before the zoo had its name. Now, one of its oldest primates has died.

Prisilla, the oldest primate in Zoo Miami's collection and the third oldest Lar gibbon in all of North America, according to Zoo Miami, died June 4, 2018.
Prisilla, the oldest primate in Zoo Miami's collection and the third oldest Lar gibbon in all of North America, according to Zoo Miami, died June 4, 2018. Zoo Miami

Prisilla had a home at Zoo Miami before the popular attraction had its current name.

Now, the Zoo Miami community is mourning the loss of one of its oldest primates.

On Monday, officials euthanized Prisilla, an endangered Lar gibbon, after she experienced a steep decline in her health and was diagnosed with a non-treatable condition that severely deteriorated her quality of life, Zoo Miami spokesman Ron Magill said in a release.

Prisilla was more than 48 years old and arrived at Zoo Miami in May 1981, a year after the zoo moved from Crandon Park to its location in South Miami-Dade. With its move, the zoo was renamed Miami Metrozoo and had its official grand opening in December 1981.

For its 30th anniversary, in 2010, Metrozoo was renamed Zoo Miami.

And there was Prisilla, "a crowd favorite" who swung through her habitat with her distinctive "high-pitched calls" every morning, Magill said in the release.

Prisilla has produced eight offspring who have started their own families at other facilities around the country.

Lar gibbons are found in the lowland forests of Southeast Asia and primarily feed on fruits, leaves, flowers and insects.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said that Prisilla was Zoo Miami's oldest primate. This is incorrect. Zoo spokesman Ron Magill sent a corrective email to the news media Wednesday morning with a mea culpa. Blame it, he quipped, on a brain "suffering from jet lag" after a two-week trip out of the country.

"I woke up this morning and realized that I had misspoken ... because the reality is that our oldest primate is Bubbles, a 51-year-old chimp, closely followed by Samantha, who like Prisilla, is also 48 years old," he wrote.

"These are two animals that I have known and worked with for over 35 years!! I don’t know what I was thinking!!," Magill added. "Though they are showing signs of their advanced age, both of these 'Grande Dames' of Zoo Miami are alive and well and I terribly regret not recognizing their seniority. (I hope that they don’t get mad at me for revealing their true age as some individuals are sensitive about that kind of thing)!!"

We're betting Bubbles and Samantha will let it slide.

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