The father of nationally beloved hippo Fiona died Tuesday at the Cincinnati Zoo at the age of 36, The Associated Press reports. Henry, a Nile hippopotamus, had reportedly lost hundreds of pounds in recent months due to ongoing health problems.
Vet staff had noticed that Henry "took an obvious downward turn in the past few days and was weak and unsteady," the zoo wrote. "After an exam this morning, they determined that Henry's quality of life would not improve and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him."
The average life expectancy of a Nile hippo is 35 years. Henry is survived by his mate, Bibi, and their daughter Fiona, who was born six weeks early in January 2017, but remained healthy and a delight to zoo visitors. "From meeting, bonding, and breeding with his mate Bibi, to becoming a father to charismatic and spirited Fiona, Henry's days in Cincinnati were filled with sunshine, watermelons, waterfalls, and the highest quality of care that can be provided to any animal,” said Wendy Rice, the Africa head keeper at the Cincinnati Zoo.