MANILA, Philippines — Bertha the hippopotamus, the Manila Zoo’s oldest resident, has died at 65 years old.
This was confirmed by Manila Parks and Recreation Bureau director James Albert Dichaves as quoted by The Philippine Star.
The BBC reported that Bertha was also considered the world’s oldest hippo in captivity.
Bertha died at around 1:45 p.m. on Friday, Dichaves said.
She was one of the first animals to be presented to the public when the zoo opened in 1959.
Her remains were autopsied and veterinarians did not find any sickness or disease that might have led to her demise.
Dichaves believed Bertha could have died of old age.
“We were actually anticipating it already because her health had been deteriorating in the past three weeks,” he told The Philippine Star.
She had already been moving slower than usual before she died.
Her partner, Bert, had died a few years ago.
Bertha’s remains were buried in a vacant lot inside the Manila Zoo. Once her body decomposes, her skeleton will be dug up and preserved, Dichaves said.
Hippos are mammals and herbivores.
According to National Geographic, their average life span in the wild is up to 40 years.
They are ranked vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which means they are at high risk of extinction in the wild.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals representative Jason Baker was quoted by Channel NewsAsia as saying, “Bertha’s life at the Manila Zoo was one full of boredom, misery and deprivation. It’s a tragedy that she only realized freedom through death.”