Popular orangutan, 5, dies at Milwaukee zoo

Published On: Dec 29 2012 02:13:02 PM CST
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- -

A young orangutan at the Milwaukee County Zoo has died.

Zoo officials say 5-year-old Mahal died in his exhibit Saturday about 8:30 a.m. Zoo officials say he'd been showing signs of illness since Thursday.

The zoo's veterinary staff believes the cause of death was pneumonia. An official necropsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause.

Zoo officials say Mahal was especially popular with zoo visitors. The zoo plans to devise a way for the public to commemorate him.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report says the red-haired orangutan was born in Colorado in 2007 but his mother rejected him. Mahal was brought to Milwaukee to be raised by a surrogate mother.