El Paso Zoo Says Goodbye to Second Oldest Spider Monkey Globally
January 31, 2013

El Paso, Texas (January 31, 2013) – The El Paso Zoo is sad to announce the passing of its oldest Black-handed spider monkey, Angel. Angel was euthanized this morning due to old age related decline. Angel was 47 years old and had lived at the El Paso Zoo since November 1969. Angel is survived by three offspring and two grand-offspring currently living at the Zoo. 

Keepers and Veterinary staff had been keeping a close eye on Angel since October when she began showing signs of cognitive decline and weakness. Keepers were hand feeding Angel and were also providing her supplements because she was having trouble maintaining weight. Angel’s recent annual physical exam showed no particular organ failure. 

Angel was the second oldest female spider monkey in the world reported in International Species Information System (ISIS). ISIS provides information about living animals in zoological facilities around the world. Life expectancy for spider monkeys in a zoo setting is 40-50 years old. 

“She was a very sweet and kind soul, very gentle. Her absence will be deeply felt by all staff at the zoo and especially those of us that were really close to her,” said Jen Aydelotte, Senior Keeper. 

Black-handed spider monkeys are listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. 

Keepers say the others will notice that she is gone and will feel her absence. She was the matriarch of the group but the zoo’s spider monkeys have a strong social group and are expected to do well. The spider monkey exhibit will remain open as usual. 


Locally recognized as the Best Place to Take the Kiddos, the El Paso Zoo sits on 35 acres of fun and adventure. Bigger and better than ever, the El Paso Zoo is an expansive green space that is home to exotic animals from around the world and features family attractions such as the African Star train and the Hunt Family Desert Spring. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the El Paso Zoo celebrates the value of animals and natural resources and creates opportunities for people to rediscover their connection to nature. For more information, visit elpasozoo.org. For news and exclusive content, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/elpasozoo) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/user/theelpasozoo).