Solving the Mysterious Case of "Mahal"
"Mahal" was a Bornean orangutan born in Colorado and rejected by his mother. He was sent to the Milwaukee County Zoo for adoption by a surrogate mother. His story was celebrated as a parable of hope for the public in Milwaukee and beyond. In December 2013, Mahal died suddenly of unknown causes. His death caused great mourning among the public in Wisconsin. Professor Tony Goldberg's lab, in collaboration with others at UW, was able to use advanced molecular methods to diagnose the cause of death. Mahal died of a new species of parasite, never before described. We are currently tracking the source of this infection, to prevent future cases.