Erie Zoo News & Updates

Joe Orangutan Update

Posted on March 9th, 2022 at 9:17 AM
Joe Orangutan Update
Joe Orangutan Update:
As many of you may have noticed, this past weekend Joe the orangutan was feeling under the weather and the family was off exhibit for opening weekend.
This past weekend primate keepers first observed Joe the Erie Zoo’s 36 year-old male Bornean orangutan displaying symptoms of decreased appetite, lethargy, and lack of engagement. A Covid-19 test was performed and the results came back negative. After careful consideration, the veterinary and animal care teams determined it would be in the family’s best interest to keep Joe, Dasa, and Otis behind the scenes in their bedroom area while investigating the cause.
At this time, Joe’s condition remains stable but he has not responded to treatments as well as we had hoped and we are pursuing additional diagnostics that will require the use of anesthesia. This decision is not being made lightly as any animal sedation, especially for a larger animal in their median life expectancy, comes with increased risk. This decision is being reinforced by consultations with experts in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Orangutan Species Survival Plan and other regional zoo veterinarians.
Our animal care and veterinary teams are working tirelessly in their care and diagnosis of Joe. We are continuing to review behavior and observational logs throughout this process. At this time, the other members of the orangutan family are not displaying any abnormal symptoms. The care and wellbeing of the animals that call the zoo home continues to be our top priority and we will explore every option available in the terms of treatment. We will continue to provide updates as the situations evolves.
In the meantime, if you would like to send Joe your well wishes, there will be a table set up in the orangutan viewing area where visitors are encouraged to make “Get Well Soon” cards for Joe to enjoy as enrichment. Your Erie Zoo is now open daily from 10am-5pm. More information, rates and hours can be found at