Tags: blackie | hippo | ailing | euthanized | cleveland | zoo

Blackie the Hippo, 59 and Ailing, Euthanized by Cleveland Zoo

By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 10:26 AM

Blackie the hippo, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's beloved hippopotamus, was euthanized Monday because of "advanced age-related ailments," a spokesperson confirmed.

"He lived a good long life," Sue Allen, the zoo's communications director, told The Plain Dealer. "It was a testament to the care he was given. His needs were really attended to."

Blackie was believed to be the oldest male Nile hippo in North America. While most hippos live to be about 30 or 40, Blackie was 59 at the time of his death.

Blackie, who was described as a "pleasant-natured bull hippo," was captured in the African nation of Tanzania in 1955 and brought to the United States on a safari led by brothers Vernon and Gordon Stouffer, The Plan Dealer reported. He was a staple at the zoo and became one of the most well known animals.

"When an animal like that gets to be known and people bring their kids and grandkids, it creates a nice lineage for the families," Allen said.

According to LiveScience.com, hippos are the third largest land mammals on Earth, after elephants and white rhinos. Their closest living relatives are dolphins and whales, and they are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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