World’s ‘oldest’ hippo dies at Philippine zoo
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.