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Flamingo was the last of Riverbanks Zoo’s original animals

By Joey Holleman
Columbia State

The last of the original Riverbanks Zoo animals – a Caribbean flamingo – has died just a month before the zoo’s 40th anniversary.

Riverbanks announced the death of the flamingo Thursday.

“It’s always hard to lose a member of our animal collection, especially one that has been with us since day one,” said Satch Krantz, CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “We know that this flamingo was at least 45 years old at the time of her death, which largely exceeds the average age of flamingo species.”

The life expectancy of the Chilean species of flamingo is 33 years, but there isn’t good data on the life expectancy of the Caribbean version of the species, according to Riverbanks.

Only five of Riverbanks’ original animals made it to the April 25, 2004, party marking the 30th anniversary of the zoo’s opening. That list included two female flamingos, a male siamang named Solo, a male hippopotamus named Montgomery and a male sloth named Phil.

The zoo didn’t have a practice of naming its flamingos, who were identified by numbers on tabs clipped to their legs. As flocking animals in a large group, one flamingo generally doesn’t stand out from the crowd. But the last of the originals was notable not only for her longevity but for her vitality. She hatched her last chick in 2009.

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