By Ananth Baliga
Greater was struggling to cope with medical complications and doctors decided to humanely put the flamingo to sleep when it didn't respond to medication.
The world's oldest flamingo, affectionately called Greater, died Friday at the Adelaide zoo, after its quality of life deteriorated due to old age.
Greater, whose sex and origin was unknown, is the last Greater Flamingo to have resided in Australia. The flamingo was going blind and had arthritis, and it became clear Greater was struggling to cope with these medical conditions. For a while, Greater was responding to medication, but it became increasingly clear it would be better to put Greater to sleep.
"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," said the zoo's chief executive Elaine Bensted.
Greater is survived by long-term friend Chilly, a Chilean flamingo. Zoo officials are closely monitoring Chilly to see how Greater's passing will affect him, considering he is now Australia's only remaining flamingo.
The Adelaide Zoo is considering building a memorial to Greater near the heritage-listed flamingo pond. The zoo has received an outpouring of support and condolences from the community, and have set up a fund to accept donations for the preservation of other endangered birds.
In October 2008, Greater was attacked by several youths but rallied to make a full recovery. The zoo doesn't see the possibility of getting another flamingo, as the process involves getting an assessment from Australian Biosecurity, which could take several years.