Julie the Hippo (Photo courtesy Memphis Zoo)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Zoo says a 51-year-old hippopotamus named Julie has died.
In a statement released Monday, the zoo said Julie the hippo died March 16 after her health began to dramatically decline this month.
Julie had been in hospice care before she died. Officials said the hippo was euthanized to avoid prolonging the suffering of one of the zoo's most beloved animals.
Julie was born at the zoo in July 1961 and spent her entire life in Memphis. She produced 10 offspring, including twins Splish and Splash, who were featured in Life magazine in March 1989.
The hippo exhibit is one of the most popular at the zoo. Zoo workers said Julie had an engaging personality and was a caring mother who was calm, reliable and easy to work with.