DENVER -- The Denver Zoo's has lost its oldest resident, a 58-year-old hippopotamus named Bertie, the staff says.
CBS Denver reported the hippo, the longest living in an accredited North American zoo, was euthanized on Monday.
"This is a very sad loss for Denver Zoo and our community. Bert was a member of our family for more than 50 years," said Denver Zoo's President/CEO Shannon Block in a statement. "He will be missed by all of us, including the many families and children who visited him and came to know his charismatic personality over the years."
He came to Denver from New York's Central Park Zoo in 1958. He was the first hippo to ever reside at the zoo and has fathered every hippo calf born at Denver Zoo.
Zoo officials decided to put Bertie down after his quality of life had declined markedly. Caretakers saw that he had lost his appetite recently, and had no interest in his training sessions, according to CBS Denver. He also did not want to leave his pool and had trouble walking. After taking such factors into account, officials made the decision to euthanize him.
"This is never an easy decision, but it was the right one. We'll all miss him very much, but were glad he lived such a long, happy life here at the zoo," said Denver Zoo Vice President of Veterinary Medicine Scott Larsen in the statement.