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Romulus, a ‘goofy’ Sacramento Zoo lemur with a ‘silly face,’ dies

Romulus, a 7-year-old male Coquerel’s sifaka, has died, the Sacramento Zoo reports.
Romulus, a 7-year-old male Coquerel’s sifaka, has died, the Sacramento Zoo reports. Sacramento Zoo

The Sacramento Zoo reports that Romulus, a 7-year-old male Coquerel’s sifaka, has died.

Romulus, a medium-size lemur, was euthanized Tuesday at the Dr. Murray E. Fowler Veterinary Hospital after a sudden illness progressed over the weekend, compromising his quality of life, the zoo said in a news release. A necropsy will be performed at UC Davis.

On Saturday, zookeepers reported Romulus exhibited symptoms of lethargy, and he received an emergency veterinary exam. Based on his symptoms, the exam and processes of elimination, he was diagnosed with gastrointestinal and neurological issues, the zoo reports. Over the next two days, Romulus received fluids, antibiotics, analgesics and underwent diagnostic tests.

On Tuesday, after having a seizure, he was stabilized and then anesthetized by the veterinary staff. An examination indicated worsening sepsis, the release said.

“Romulus was a very sweet, goofy, easy-going sifaka. He would never eat his carrots, but he loved nuts, yams, broccoli and browse,” said Sadie Hutchison, the lead primate zookeeper, in a news release. “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 also home to a female Coquerel’s sifaka. The zoo is seeking to provide the female with a companion or mate, the release states.

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, the zoo said.

As a tribute to the animals as the Sacramento Zoo celebrates its 90th birthday, here's a collection of pictures taken over the years by Sacramento Bee photographers.

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