The nation’s oldest tree kangaroo living at Roger Williams Park Zoo has died, according to zoo officials.
Paul, a Matschie’s tree kangaroo celebrated his 23rd birthday in January, breaking a record for the oldest of his species living in the United States. The average age of a Matschie’s tree kangaroo in the wild is about eight years old. In captivity, the animal may live to 13 possibly 14 years of age.
Zoo officials said Paul developed heart complications, which reduced his quality of life. The staff made the decision to euthanize him so he would not suffer.
Roger Williams Park Zoo’s Executive Director, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, said Paul was a great ambassador for his species, which is endangered.
“It is a great testament to the love and care Paul received from his keepers and veterinary staff that he lived such a long life,” Goodman said.
The species of tree kangaroo is native to Papua New Guinea. There are only about 2,500 to 3,000 Matschie’s tree kangaroos left in the wild. The zoo has been working to breed the species, and has seen the birth of two since 2013, which were named Polly and Holly.