Two cherished animals at Dublin Zoo pass away from unrelated illnesses


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Dublin Zoo is mourning the recent deaths of two long-time residents, Avani the elephant and Riona the Bornean orangutan. Both animals were beloved members of the zoo community and passed away due to unrelated illnesses.

The zoo, located in Phoenix Park, has been a sanctuary for these animals since their birth. The loss has deeply affected the zoo staff, who had formed strong bonds with Avani and Riona.

The lives of Avani and Riona

Avani, an eight-year-old Asian elephant, was cherished by her caretakers and an essential member of the elephant herd. Known for her friendly nature and playful antics, she brought joy to visitors and staff alike.

Born and raised at Dublin Zoo, Avani’s passing marks the end of an era, as she was one of the youngest elephants in residence. “Avani was an integral part of the Asian elephant herd at Dublin Zoo and was adored by the animal care team who worked with her,” the zoo stated.

Riona, a mature Bornean orangutan born in 1996 to parents Leonie and Sibu, was renowned for her intelligence and gentle demeanor. She had a special place in the hearts of her caretakers and visitors, known for her maternal instincts and caring nature towards her offspring.

“Riona, who was born to parents Leonie and Sibu in 1996, was a very clever and gentle orangutan. She will be greatly missed by the generations of Dublin Zoo keepers who cared for her over the past 28 years,” said the zoo. Riona’s death is a significant loss for the zoo community.

Community reactions and Sibu’s passing

The public has responded with an outpouring of sympathy and condolences, remembering the two beloved animals. Dublin Zoo’s conservationists expressed their grief, stating, “We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved animals Avani and Riona.”

The zoo also mourns the recent death of Sibu, Riona’s father. Sibu, a 45-year-old orangutan, passed away due to heart and lung problems. Veterinarians confirmed he had progressive cardiac disease. Sibu had been a beloved icon at Dublin Zoo for 40 years.

His 40th birthday in 2018 was celebrated with half-price admission tickets, highlighting his significance. The zoo said, “The absence of our beloved Sibu will be felt by the whole team and by millions of visitors who had been fortunate enough to see him over the years.”

Dublin Zoo is currently awaiting post-mortem reports on the causes of death for Avani and Riona. The autopsies are being carried out at UCD Veterinary Hospital in south Dublin. The zoo continues to care for its remaining animal population with dedication and commitment, ensuring their welfare and well-being.

Honoring their legacies

Avani and Riona’s legacies will live on in the memories of those who knew them. The zoo encourages the public to share memories and condolences on its social media channels. Visitors are also invited to support the remaining animals by visiting the zoo.

The deaths of Avani and Riona serve as a reminder of life’s fragility, especially for animals in captivity. Dublin Zoo promises to honor their memory by continuing its mission of animal welfare and conservation. The zoo remains open, offering visitors the chance to learn about and connect with various species.

The importance of wildlife conservation

The zoo encourages everyone to remember the importance of wildlife conservation and the role it plays in preserving biodiversity. The zoo’s steadfast commitment to ensuring the welfare of its animal residents is demonstrated through its ongoing efforts to provide a safe haven for wildlife. In honor of Avani and Riona, Dublin Zoo remains dedicated to its mission of conservation and education, aiming to inspire curiosity about the natural world.

The staff and caretakers at Dublin Zoo offer their heartfelt condolences to all those who held dear bonds with Avani and Riona. Their passing underscores the significance of ongoing conservation initiatives aimed at safeguarding endangered species within the confines of zoos. Dublin Zoo remains steadfast in its dedication to providing a sanctuary for wildlife and igniting the curiosity of visitors regarding the intricacies of the natural world, as a tribute to the cherished memories of Avani and Riona.

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