The Nile hippopotamus believed to be the oldest ever in North America died Monday at his zoo home in Cleveland.
Blackie the hippo, who was believed to be about 59 years old, was euthanized in the off-exhibit Africa barn enclosure at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo due to age-related ailments.
The animal retired from public life in 2008, and spent his remaining years in a "retirement villa" where he lived "contentedly eating copious amounts of produce and floating lazily in a pool he didn't have to share," said a release from the zoo.
"He lived a good long life," said zoo communications director Sue All. "It was a testament to the care he was given."
In fact, Blackie lived a remarkably long life: hippos usually live between 30 and 40 years in the wild, and a little longer in captivity. The zoo said it knows of no other male hippo to live so long.
Blackie was brought to Cleveland from Africa on a safari led by Vernon and Gordon Stouffer in 1955. Blackie was about a year old at the time, and was born in Tanzania.
The zoo said it had "no immediate plans" to replace Blackie.
[Cleveland Plain Dealer]