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Things to Do: Check out two of the oldest animals at Potter Park Zoo

Vinnie the King Vulture
Posted at 3:29 AM, Aug 25, 2023

LANSING, Mich. — This week's Things to Do is for all you animal lovers. Reporter Tianna Jenkins went to Potter Park Zoo to check out two pretty cool animals that have been around for a very long time.

Vinne the King Vulture
Inside of Potter Park Zoo among many of it's animals you'll find Vinnie a king vulture that has the crown of being its oldest resident.

"We've had Vinnie 20 plus years now. My understanding has been he was wild caught in the early 70s. So, we don't even actually know for sure how old he is. But he's at least 56," said zookeeper Jacob Brodie.

Brodie is the area lead for birds, reptiles and amphibians at the zoo. He started helping on and off taking care of Vinnie since he started in 2010 and has been one of his full time caretakers since 2015.

"It's a fun fact that I really like sharing with people. You know, most people don't realize a bird like him could live that long. You know, and they're always impressed by by how old he actually is," Brodie said.

Being in captivity his whole life, Vinnie is the type of bird that loves to have his own space.

"He doesn't really like other vultures. We did try in the past to get him a friend and he was not having it," Brodie said.

And as far as his personality he's super curious and intelligent.

Many things about King Vultures are unknown and its also unknown how long males are expected to live.

"There's a figure out there have a median age of about 30 for the females, but even that is kind of questionable," Brodie said.

But Vinnie is in good health. So they are expecting him to continue to hold the top spot at the zoo.

"There's a very good chance he'll keep going for many, many years," Brodie said.

Gumbelina the Spider Monkey

Not too short of a walk away you'll find a spider monkey name Gumbelina who is up there in age as well.

"Gumbe came to our facility around 87. She's been here a long time she came to us from San Diego. She's had three offspring while she was here, and our matriarch is 42 years old this year."

Annie Marcum is the lead keeper for carnivores and primates at Potter Park Zoo. She describes Gumbelina as a reserved mama of three.

"She's very expressive. She very much likes to say hi, when we walk by she does some body language as well. So we know that she's looking at us," Marcum said.

At the age of 42 Gumbelina is still going strong.

"The median life expectancy which is the average without the extremes is only 30 years," Marcum said. "She's got a little bit of conditions here and there. She's got some arthritis. She's got some worn down teeth, which are all normal for her age."

But other than that she's doing pretty well and still can hang with the other spider monkeys.

"Goes to show we are doing what she needs and we are doing it well," Marcum said.

But these two aren't the only ones at the zoo who have lived past their life expectancy. The zoo has quite a few others for you to check out.

For more information on Potter Park Zoo, click here.

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Meet Tianna Jenkins

Senior Multimedia Journalist