A sea lion at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden passed away on Thursday of old age. He was 31.
Duke was a favorite of visitors and employees. Over the last few months, his behavior changed and he lost his appetite.
“So laid back, smart and sweet. He was a great ambassador and enjoyed interacting with visitors and his caregivers,” said senior keeper Lisa Potter in a news release on Thursday. “I always knew this would be hard but still wasn’t prepared to lose him. We will miss him so much.”
Duke was one of the oldest sea lions in a North American zoo. The median life expectancy is 23.
“Our top priority for geriatric animals is maintaining the highest quality of life until the end of life. We feel that we accomplished this with Duke, with a highly capable and passionate group of staff dedicated to giving Duke all that he needed to feel comfortable and happy while he was with us,” said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo director.