08/22/2012 03:33 EDT | Updated 10/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Calgary Zoo Hippo Dies: Foggy, The Oldest Animal, Dead At 47


CALGARY - The Calgary Zoo has lost its oldest animal.

Foggy the hippo, so named because his bellows sounded like a foghorn, has been euthanized due to age-related health problems.

Foggy was 47 and had been living at the zoo since 1966.

"Foggy was extremely old for a hippo and his health has been in gradual decline for several years,” said curator Jamie Dorgan.

"For years we treated his ailments to make him comfortable and continually monitored his quality of life. Sadly, the time had come when there was nothing more we could do to mitigate his many age-related ailments."

The average life expectancy of hippos in captivity is 35 years and somewhat less in the wild due to higher risk factors such as disease, injury and human/hippo conflict.

Wild hippo populations are considered vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with a decline of seven to 20 per cent over the last 10 years alone. Primary threats are illegal and unregulated hunting for meat and ivory. Habitat loss is also a concern.

Foggy was born at the Houston Zoo in 1965 and was transferred to Calgary nine months later.

He sired seven surviving offspring with three different mates. Three of the calves were born to Sparky, the zoo’s resident female hippo.

The zoo says it is working with other accredited facilities to bring in another hippo as soon as possible so that Sparky won't get too lonely.

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