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It is with great sadness that we inform you that Greater the Flamingo has died at 83.

Greater, whose gender was unknown even though zookeepers certainly had plenty of time to try to figure it out, suffered from arthritis and other old age problems.

"Greater responded well to treatment and remarkably survived the cold winter," a zoo official said, being careful never to use gendered pronouns. "This week Greater took a turn for the worse and the difficult decision was made to humanely put Greater to sleep after Greater was no longer responding to treatment and Greater's quality of life had significantly deteriorated."

Greater was brought to Australia's Adelaide Zoo in 1933 and was apparently quite popular there, approaching zoo visitors. That proved to be a problem in October 2008 when four teenagers nearly beat Greater to death. Greater, who was already almost blind, eventually recovered from a bloody beak and skull fracture. By December of that year Greater was good as new and back with his or her Chilean flamingo friend, Chilly. (Greater was a Greater flamingo. It seems the Adelaide Zoo isn't very creative when it comes to names.)

Greater flamingos have a lifespan of 20 years in the wild and 44 years in captivity.

The zoo is currently considering erecting a memorial to Greater, and "welcomes community support to ensure Greater is commemorated in an appropriate fashion."

Chilly, who is in his 60s, is now the only flamingo in all of Australia, as there is a moratorium there on flamingo imports.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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