MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The Memphis Zoo announced Monday that 'Julie' the hippo, born and raised at the zoo, has passed away at age 51.
Zoo keepers and veterinarians saw Julie's health decline dramatically earlier this month and placed Julie in hospice care. After closely monitoring her health, the decision was made to euthanize Julie in order to avoid prolonged suffering.
Julie was born at the Memphis Zoo on July 8, 1961, and has spent her entire life in Memphis. She had ten calves over her lifetime, all fathered by her mate 'Ubei,' who passed in 1995.
Her most famous calves were rare hippo twins born on Christmas Day in 1988, named 'Splish' and 'Splash' by Memphis native Cybill Shepherd. Splish still resides at the Memphis Zoo.
"During my zoo career I've had the fortune to work with four hippos," said Herb Roberts, Memphis Zoo Curator. "Julie by far had the best temperament. She was calm, reliable and easy to work with. She enjoyed spending time with her keepers as well as her daughter Splish. I think she considered them all part of her herd. I know she was part of my herd, and I will miss her greatly."
The Memphis Zoo will work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to acquire a new companion for Splish at the Zoo's hippo exhibit.