Another sad farewell at Rockhampton Zoo

Published on 15 December 2022

Tuson the White Cheeked Gibbon

The hearts of the Rockhampton Zoo family have broken again with the loss of another primate, Tuson our female White-Cheeked Gibbon.

Tuson passed away at 11.30am on Wednesday morning having received medical treatment for the two weeks prior, and fulltime vet care since Monday morning due to suspected gastrointestinal and pancreatic problems.

At the first sign of Tuson’s illness, our vet and keepers immediately sought advice from gibbon experts from Perth Zoo, and vets from Adelaide Zoo where Tuson was born to ensure she received the best possible care.

Parks, Sport and Public Spaces Councillor Cherie Rutherford said the loss of Tuson has once again left zoo staff feeling shocked and upset.

“Whilst Tuson had only been with us a short time, we were all devastated to hear of the loss of another one of our zoo family members – they all mean so much to us,” Cr Rutherford said.

“Six-year-old Tuson arrived in Rockhampton and settled into her enclosure in October 2022 from Adelaide Zoo and was such a delight to get to know during that time.

“Tuson was quiet and reserved, yet confident in herself, and a genuinely lovely little soul.

“I really feel for zoo staff during this time and extend my condolences to them once again – they love these animals as their own.

“I would also like to thank our community for their support and understanding during this difficult time.”

Rockhampton Zoo Primate Keeper and Team Leader, Blair Chapman said this loss is a hard blow to our staff who are still mourning the recent passing of Holly the chimpanzee last week.

“The sudden loss of Tuson is such sad and unfortunate timing given the passing of our beloved chimpanzee Holly last week,” Mr Chapman said.

“An initial procedure to examine the cause of Tuson’s passing has already been carried out and so far there is no evidence to suggest the two incidents are related.

“Both Holly and Tuson experienced unrelated symptoms and whilst we await final pathology results for both of them, we do find comfort in knowing our other primates remain healthy and well with no signs of illness.

“The safety and wellbeing of our animals is of top priority, and we will continue to closely monitor our remaining gibbon and chimp troop as they transition to life without their mates.”