World’s ‘old­est’ hippo dies at Philip­pine zoo

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

MANILA, Philip­pines — Bertha, be­lieved to be the world’s old­est hip­popota­mus, has died aged 65, the Manila zoo said on Mon­day, hav­ing beaten the typ­i­cal life­span for the mostly her­biv­o­rous mam­mals by decades.

The 2.5-ton fe­male was found dead on Fri­day in her en­clo­sure, with a post mortem ex­am­i­na­tion con­clud­ing that Bertha, the zoo’s old­est res­i­dent, had died from mul­ti­ple or­gan fail­ure, zoo di­rec­tor James Dichaves said.

“Bertha was among the pi­o­neer an­i­mals here. Her mate died some­time in the 1980s and the cou­ple failed to pro­duce any off­spring,” he said.

A 7-year-old Bertha ar­rived at the zoo in the Philip­pines’ cap­i­tal the year it opened in 1959. The zoo has lost the records of where she came from, Dichaves said.

Fed a diet of grass, fruit, and bread in a 1,000 square-me­ter pen, Bertha lived far be­yond the 40 to 50 year life­spans which are typ­i­cal for the species in the wild and in cap­tiv­ity re­spec­tively, Dichaves said.

Zoo of­fi­cials be­lieved Bertha was the old­est liv­ing hip- po in cap­tiv­ity at the time of her death.

Donna, who died in 2012 at the age of 62 at the US Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gar­den in Evansville, In­di­ana, was pre­vi­ously said to be the world’s old­est hippo.

Two years ago, an adult male hippo named Ber­tie was eu­th­a­nized at the Den­ver Zoo in Colorado at the age of 58, the re­ports said.

Bertha’s death touched off a wave of sym­pa­thy on so­cial me­dia.

“It’s a sad day. Bertha the world’s old­est hippo has passed away,” Twit­ter user Eric M. Davis posted with a cry­ing emoji.

“You’re one of my fa­vorites to see in the zoo ever since. Sleep peace­fully,” Jen Tolibas tweeted.

The com­mon hip­popota­mus of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa faces a “high risk of ex­tinc­tion in the wild” from habi­tat loss and il­le­gal hunt­ing for meat and ivory from its teeth, ac­cord­ing to the Swiss-based In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture.

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