Black lemur believed to be oldest in captivity dies

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.  – Officials of Springfield’s Henson Robinson Zoo say the world’s oldest black lemur in captivity has died.

Curators at the central Illinois zoo say the 38-year-old black lemur named Blossom died Wednesday. Blossom outlived the median life expectancy of 25 years for black lemurs housed in zoos.

Zoo curators say Blossom struggled with arthritis and cataracts as she grew older. She became lethargic with a decreased appetite, and the decision was made to euthanize her Wednesday.

The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports Blossom was the oldest animal at Henson Robinson Zoo, which opened in 1970. She arrived at the zoo in 1992 at the age of 12, and had two offspring that arrived at the zoo with her.

Curator Jeff Mitchell says Blossom served as an ambassador for her species, which is in decline in Madagascar.