Handling Of Orangutan's Death Led Metro To Fire Zoo Director, Veterinarian

<p>Recent staffing changes are said to be connected to the death of Kutai in January.</p>

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The regional government agency Metro has explained why it fired Oregon Zoo director Kim Smith and senior veterinarian Mitch Finnegan at the Oregon Zoo this week. Metro says it was the result of an investigation into the death of a Sumatran orangutan.

The Orangutan was a 20 year old male named Kutai. According to a press release the zoo sent out in January, Kutai died after a sudden illness, possibly an infection, and two surgeries. Metro spokesman Jim Middaugh says Metro had questions about the animal's death. "We conducted a very careful investigation of the circumstances surrounding Kutai's death and concluded that mistakes were made and information wasn't effectively disclosed to management," he said.

Metro hasn't specified what those mistakes were. Middaugh says Metro is considering requests from the media to release the investigation along with veterinary records.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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