Oldest snow monkey in North America dies at Minnesota Zoo

Nikko, North America's oldest living snow monkey, passed away recently at the Minnesota Zoo. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo. 

One of the Minnesota Zoo's resident snow monkeys - the oldest living male snow monkey in North America - passed away earlier this month, the zoo announced Monday.

Nikko, one of the 25 snow monkeys in the zoo's current troop, celebrated his 34th birthday on Sept. 11.

The average life expectancy for male snow monkeys is 18 years. At 34, Nikko had lived longer than 99.5 percent of other known male snow monkeys, according to the zoo. 

Since arriving at the Minnesota Zoo in 2001, Nikko established himself as one of the dominant males who helped to maintain peace within the troop. Zookeepers have said Nikko's laid back personality may have been the reason he lived twice as long as the typical male snow monkey. 

Snow monkeys are native to three of Japan's four main islands and live farther north than any other non-human primate.