Blackie the hippo became famous for not only being the oldest Cleveland hippo, but also the oldest hippo in the United States.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Blackie the hippo lived to the ripe old age of 59 before being put down. Of course, that doesn’t beat the story about the man swallowed alive by a hippo.
The story of Blackie the hippo doesn’t start in captivity, although he was actually born on a Tanzanian game reserve only to be brought to Cleveland in the 1950′s. In the zoo, he enjoyed heated pools and a generous supply of food, which allowed him to outlive many of his brethren in the wild by a significant amount of years.
Regardless, the oldest hippo in the United States had to go according to vets. Blackie the hippo was developing “advanced age-related ailments,” and so he was euthanized. But couldn’t he live out his life swimming around and eating to his heart’s content?
The vets claim Blackie the hippo would have experienced pain and suffering due to his old age if they hadn’t killed him. Such a move may anger animal right activists like PETA, which has a long history of objecting whenever the deaths of animals come up in the news.
For example, PETA was incensed by a hippo death in India, claiming the conditions of the zoo were at fault, and they insisted the “people who are responsible for this must be answerable.” PETA also wanted the Denver zoo investigated for the death of another hippo named Hazina, and the organization strongly objects to the very act of keeping animals in captivity:
“In their zeal to breed animals in captivity, instead of protecting them in the wild, the zoos have cost yet another animal her life. We can’t bring Hazina back, but the USDA must hold the Denver Zoo accountable for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act that led to her prolonged suffering and, ultimately, her death.”
In blog posts, one of the few times PETA highlighted a hippo story was when it was living free range with a human, and allowed to wander, even through the house. Of course, the “prolonged suffering” of Blackie the hippo is the key to any debate over animal euthanasia.
Do you think the Cleveland zoo was right to euthanize Blackie the hippo or should they just have let nature take its course?