Phoenix Zoo mourns death of 30-year-old siamang

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Zoo's female siamang was found dead by one of its keepers Saturday morning.

Frances was found in the water near her island habitat. Keepers took a boat out to the island when they couldn't spot the primate from the pathway, according to zoo spokeswoman Linda Hardwick.

The 30-year-old siamang was one of two housed at the zoo on the island along the Children's Zoo Trail. She had been at the zoo for seven years.

Hardwick said the pair had recently been at the zoo's animal care clinic while the island was undergoing renovation and tree work.

Frances returned to the island Thursday afternoon, while the male siamang remained at the clinic for health reasons.

Hardwick said zoo staff members are extremely saddened by the sudden loss of Frannie, as she was called by her keepers.

A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

The siamang is part of the lesser ape family and is a tailless, arboreal, black-furred gibbon, native to the forests of Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra.

Siamangs are well-known for their loud, resonating calls or songs, which can be heard throughout the day.

Hardwick said they are usually extremely wary of water and respect it as a barrier.