Bertha the hippo died of old age

MANILA, Philippines – Bertha, the sole hippopotamus and considered one of the first animals in the Manila Zoo, has died.

bertha the hippoManila Parks and Recreation Bureau director James Albert Dichaves said zookeepers found the 65-year-old hippopotamus lifeless.

“Yes, she died at around 1:45 p.m. last Friday,” Dichaves confirmed.

The bureau had Bertha’s remains autopsied; however the veterinarians said they didn’t see anything resembling sickness or infection that may have caused the demise of the zoo’s oldest animal.

Dichaves said the hippopotamus could have died of old age.

“We were actually anticipating it already because her health had been deteriorating in the past three weeks,” Dichaves said.

Zookeepers also noticed that Bertha had been moving slower than usual before she died.

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The bureau chief stated, however, he was extremely proud that Bertha had surpassed the normal life expectancy of hippos, which is 40-50 years of age.

Bertha was among the first animals that were put on exhibit at the zoo when it opened to people in general in July 1959.

Bertha had a partner, Bert, who died several years ago, leaving her alone as one of the zoo’s fundamental attractions after other animals passed away.

The hippo’s remains were buried in one of the vacant lots inside the zoo yet the skeleton will be dug up after it decomposes and will be preserved, as indicated by Dichaves.

He said he had written Manila Chairman Joseph Estrada to ask for another hippopotamus and different creatures, similar to zebra and giraffe, which the zoo does not have right now.