Mar 28, 2010 10:09 AM by Associated Press

Orangutan turns 50 at Zoo

The Phoenix Zoo is used to hosting birthday parties, but this one's a little different.

Duchess the orangutan turned 50 on Saturday, and the zoo treated her to gifts, an ice cake filled with fruit and a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by hundreds of zoo visitors.

Zoo officials say Duchess is the nation's oldest captive Bornean orangutan, and is now 10 years older than the 40-year life expectancy of orangutans in the wild.

Duchess was 2 years old when the zoo opened in 1962, and is one of only a few remaining original animals. She has given birth seven times and lives with one of her daughters, and the daughter's child and mate.

The birthday party included the groundbreaking of a new $4 million orangutan exhibit.

Her keeper, Bob Keesecker, says Duchess didn't seem too stressed about the milestone.


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