APPLE VALLEY, Minn. - The Minnesota Zoo announced that the Zoo's snow monkey, Nikko, passed away on Sunday October 8 at the age of 34.

Nikko celebrated his birthday on September 11. He was the oldest male snow monkey in North America. He was born in 1983 and came to the Minnesota Zoo in 2001.

In a written statement Minnesota and Tropics Trail Curator, Tom Ness said, “It is never easy to lose an animal that you have worked with for so many years. Nikko’s age is a true testament to the amazing care we provide our animals here at the Minnesota Zoo. Nikko was a very special animals and it has been a tough few days.”

According to the Minnesota Zoo male snow moneys have an average life span of 18 years. Nikko lived longer than 99.5 percent of other known male snow monkeys.

The Minnesota Zoo participates in the Species Survival Program for snow monkeys to help maintain genetically healthy snow monkey populations in zoos.

Since 1978 the Zoo has successfully birthed 116 snow monkeys, 38 of which went into the SSP. The Minnesota Zoo currently has 25 snow monkeys.