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Adelaide Zoo Celebrates Life of Iconic Flamingo

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Adelaide Zoo is celebrating the life of its most iconic and oldest resident, the Greater Flamingo, after the difficult decision was made to humanely put the flamingo to sleep this morning as its quality of life had significantly deteriorated due to complications associated with old age.

The 83-year old flamingo affectionately known as 'Greater' was a favourite amongst zoo goers for generations arriving at Adelaide Zoo in the 1930s. Greater is best known for being the world's oldest flamingo and the last Greater Flamingo to have resided in Australia.


Zoos SA Chief Executive Elaine Bensted says in April 2013 it became apparent Greater was struggling to cope with the effects of arthritis.

"When Greater's physical health started to deteriorate last year, our veterinary team began a course of anti-inflammatory pain medication to ensure Greater's comfort. Greater responded well to treatment and remarkably survived the cold winter," Ms Bensted said.

"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.

"Although this is an extremely sad loss for us all, it was the right thing to do. There was no additional medical treatment that would have improved Greater's quality of life.

"We always knew our time with this beautiful Adelaide icon was nearing its end. We're lucky to have called Greater a member of our zoo family for so long. Greater's long life is a true testament to the stellar care provided over the years.

"Greater will be sorely missed by our zoo family, and no doubt the wider South Australian community."

Discussions are currently underway to explore options to erect a memorial to Greater near the heritage listed flamingo pond. Adelaide Zoo welcomes community support to ensure Greater is commemorated in an appropriate fashion.

Greater is survived by his long-term friend Chilly, the Chilean Flamingo. It is not yet known how Greater's passing will affect Chilly, however, he will be monitored closely and measures have been put in place to support Australia's only remaining flamingo.

In October 2008 South Australians were shocked by the senseless attack on Greater by several youths. There was an outpouring of support from the community and Greater beat the odds by making a full recovery.

There is currently a moratorium on the importation of flamingos in to Australia. To import flamingos in to Australia, a Federal Government Import Risk Assessment performed by Australian Biosecurity is required. Should this process begin it could take several years to complete. At this time it is not known when Adelaide Zoo could expect to house Greater Flamingos once more.

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