Visual Arts

RIP Doc, Houston Zoo's Beloved, "Blustery" Orangutan Artist

Doc, a Bornean orangutan who's been a mainstay at the Houston Zoo for two decades, has died at the age of 27.

"Doc was receiving treatment for cardiomyopathy, a condition in which blood does not flow normally through the heart," said Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi. "Over the past few months, his condition worsened and began to adversely affect his quality of life."

After discussions, the decision was made to euthanize Doc today.

Zoo staffers described him as "blustery" but they recalled him fondly.

"He had a soft, gentle gaze. His eyes were sweet and demure as an infant and his gaze stayed the same throughout his lifetime," said Houston Zoo Assistant Curator of Primates Lynn Killam.

Doc's paintings were exhibited at an event helping orangutan conservation.

"Doc was quite contemplative when working on the canvas, using light, small strokes with plant leaves that showed his intelligent and gentle nature," said Killam.

Doc leaves behind two children, eight-year-old Solaris and five-month-old Aurora, who he had with his companion Kelly.


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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly