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Death of Romulus, the Coquerel’s Sifaka

Categories: Animals
Romulus the Sifaka
Romulus the Coquerel’s sifaka

The Sacramento Zoo is saddened to report the death of Romulus, a 7-year-old male Coquerel’s sifaka. Romulus was humanely euthanized at the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital on Tuesday, August 8 after a sudden illness progressed over the weekend, compromising his quality of life. A full necropsy will be performed at UC Davis.

Zookeepers reported symptoms of lethargy Saturday, August 5 at which time he received an emergency veterinary exam. Based on his symptoms, the exam and processes of elimination, he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal and neurological issues. Over the next two days Romulus received fluids, antibiotics, analgesics and additional diagnostic tests. He was carefully attended to by staff. Tuesday morning after having a seizure, he was stabilized and then anesthetized by the veterinary staff. Examination indicated worsening sepsis. Based on the extremely poor prognosis for the GI and neurological diseases, the difficult decision was made to euthanize Romulus. Zoo staff have been in communication with the Duke Lemur Center. Duke Lemur Center coordinates and manages the AZA Species Survival Plan® for Coquerel’s Sifaka.

“Romulus was a very sweet, goofy, easy-going sifaka. He would never eat his carrots but he loved nuts, yams, broccoli, and browse,” said Lead Primate Zookeeper Sadie Hutchison. “I will never forget the first time I met him at the Duke Lemur Center before he moved to the Sacramento Zoo. He was an amazing sifaka ambassador who inspired visitors, docents, and staff through his impressive sifaka leaps and silly face.”

The Sacramento Zoo is still home to a female Coquerel’s sifaka. Zookeepers are giving her extra enrichment and attention to ease the loss of her exhibit-mate. We will be working with the SSP coordinator to provide our female with a companion or mate.

There are twelve Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities that house the 66 endangered Coquerel’s sifaka. Sifaka are native only to the island of Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa. Coquerel’s sifaka are among the most endangered of the sifaka species – habitat loss due to deforestation is the leading threat.