The well known and much loved Cleveland Hippo, ‘Blackie’ has died at the Ohio zoo. He was 59-years-old.
Blackie, who was believed to be the oldest Nile hippopotamus in North America, was euthanized on Monday due to what vets called: “advanced age-related ailments.” The history behind how Blackie made his way to America is an interesting one.
He was born in Africa on a game reserve in Tanzania, but then brought to America in 1955. Most hippos live around 30-40 years in the wild but often live longer in captivity due to the easier conditions and constant supply of the right foods.
Blackie was somewhat of an icon for local residents who watched him grow and mature. Not only that, but a number of generations were also able to enjoy him when they visited the zoo.
He resided in a comfortable specially heated pool which was designed and built just for him in 2008. Blackie spent most of his time floating around, enjoying the warm water, and eating lots and lots of food.
He was also a fertile Hippo and fathered three offspring in his lifetime. Blackie will be sadly missed by all the people who knew and loved him. Hippos are now in danger of extinction due to poaching.
Sadly, the vets and zoo officials had no choice but to put an end to Blackie’s life. If he lived any longer, it would most likely have been a life of significant pain and struggle due to his old age.