Goodbye to Bertha, the World's Oldest Hippo

Rebecca Barbier
Julho 12, 2017

Manila Zoo's oldest resident, fondly referred to as Queen Bertha, passed away Friday of natural causes at the age of 65, according to zoo authorities.

Bertha was present at the zoo when it opened in 1959, six years before former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos was elected to power in a nationwide election, and a further seven years before Manila played host to the Beatles during the band's 1966 tour of Asia.

Donna, who died in 2012 at the age of 62 at Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden in Evansville in the U.S. state of in, was previously said to be the world's oldest hippo, according to media reports at the time.

"We were actually anticipating it already because her health had been deteriorating in the past three weeks", Dichaves told Philipines Star news site.

Her partner, Bert, had died a few years ago.

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The remains of Bertha were buried in a vacant lot inside the zoo. Once her body decomposes, her skeleton will be dug up and preserved, Dichaves said.

Despite being considered mammals, hippos also have amphibious traits that allow them to spend up to 16 hours per day in water, and they can not survive in areas that do not have an abundant water supply.

Dichaves said they are proud that Bertha was able to live at least 15 years more than the average hippo lifespan.

In a statement, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized the Manila Zoo holding the hippo in captive for so many years. "It's a tragedy that she only realized freedom through death", PETA spokesman Jason Bakers said.

Following Bertha's death, a 43-year-old Asian elephant named Mali is now the oldest resident living at the Manila Zoo.

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