Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The last of the original animals at the Riverbanks Zoo has died.
The zoo announced Thursday that the Caribbean flamingo passed away recently. The animal arrived at the zoo in September of 1973, predating the opening of the park itself on April 25, 1974.
The zoo says the female had been a productive member of the flock, hatching her last chick in 2009.
"It's always hard to lose a member of our animal collection, especially one that has been with us since day one," said Satch Krantz, president and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "We know that this flamingo was at least 45 years old at the time of her death which largely exceeds the average age of flamingo species."
It's unclear how long Caribbean flamingos can live, but the zoo says this bird exceeded the median life expectancy of Chilean flamingos by more than 17 years.