‘Bertha lived a happy life’
Contrary to an international animal rights group’s claim, Bertha, Manila Zoo’s lone hippopotamus who was reportedly the oldest in the world, was happy until she passed away last week at age 65.
“It is not true that Bertha died of boredom. She was happy interacting with our zookeepers,” said James Albert Dichaves, director of the Manila Parks and Recreations Bureau (MPRB) which supervises the zoo.
According to a statement, all animals in Manila Zoo, including Bertha, are healthy and given complete annual checkups, Dichaves said.
He noted that Bertha even surpassed the average 40 to 50-year life span of hippopotamuses.
“She was healthy until she eventually weakened due to old age,” Dichaves said.
The MPRB director took exception to the statement of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) which criticized Manila Zoo for “imprisoning” wild animals.
Jason Baker, Peta’s vice president of international campaigns, said Bertha’s life at the zoo was “one full of boredom, misery and deprivation.”
“It’s a tragedy that she only realized freedom through death, and other animals imprisoned in zoos … continue to suffer,” he claimed.
Bertha, who weighed 2.5 tons, died on Friday afternoon due to multiple organ failure, according to an autopsy. She was aged seven in 1959 when Manila Zoo opened.