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A black howler monkey sits on vines.

We will miss you, Stormy.

We’re sorry to share that we made the difficult decision to euthanize the leader of our black howler monkey troop, 19-year-old Stormy, due to advanced kidney failure.

“He had a great relationship with his keepers and every day was a joy to work with him. We got to experience milestones with him like watching him be introduced to more females to grow his troop, becoming a father and overall managing him in a mixed species habitat, where every day is always an adventure,” said Rainforest Revealed area supervisor Michelle Johnston.

“Words cannot express how much this monkey meant to the Rainforest team.”

Stormy came to our Zoo in 2017. Together with one of his partners, Baya, they had two offspring at our Zoo, 1-year-old Bruno and 4-month-old Banjo.

Rainforest Revealed keeper Michele Quinn remembers Stormy as being motivated to train and ready to come over to keepers. If he really liked the reinforcer, usually a snack, he would give a low grumble.

“He was a gentle soul and will be greatly missed,” Michele Quinn said.

Our animal care team recently noticed Stormy experiencing disorientation and lethargy. He was immediately taken to our L3 Harris Animal Care Center for a full exam, which included bloodwork, an ultrasound and x-rays. We learned that he was in kidney failure.

Despite supportive care from our veterinary staff, Stormy’s quality of life began to decline. To prevent future suffering, the hard and compassionate decision was made to euthanize him. We hope to learn more about what led Stormy to have kidney failure from urine testing and histopathology, or the microscopic look at the anatomy of the organs.

Kidney failure is a common issue in older animals. Black howler monkeys in human care have a median lifespan of about 17.8 years, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“Stormy was an excellent ambassador for his species,” Michelle Johnston said.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to any of our animal residents, and that’s especially true this week as we say goodbye to two patriarchs, Rafiki the giraffe as well as Stormy. We ask that you keep our Zoo community in your thoughts.

Stormy’s keepers also remember him as a great lover of snacks! Check out this video of him enjoying a special “quesadilla” made from his regular diet by our commissary team.