A couple of weeks ago I listed the celebrities, scientists and cool people who died in 2016.We lost not only human celebrities, we also said goodbye to numerous animal superstars. From lonely tropical frogs to wetsuit-clad penguins, here’s the list of last year’s notable animal deaths.
- January 22. Sarah, the world’s fastest land mammal according to National Geographic Magazine, was euthanized at the age of 15 “due to a diminishing quality of life.” Sarah lived at the Cincinnati Zoo.
- March 29. Baxter was the former first dog of Maine. He died from cancer at age 11. In 2008 the Jack Russell terrier was adopted by Lauren LePage, the daughter of future Maine governor Paul LePage.
- April 8. Scooter held the title “The World’s Oldest Living Cat: according to Guinness World Records, for a very brief time. Born March 26, 1986, during the Reagan administration, the 30-year-old Siamese owned by Gail Floyd of Mansfield, TX, was confirmed Oldest Kitty by Guinness on April 8, 2016. However, Scooter lost his title even before Guinness made it official. A Guinness record holder must be confirmed with a veterinarian’s letter and the paperwork processed before they formalize the title. The process usually takes around 12 weeks. By the time Guinness completed the formalities, poor Scooter had passed away. Thirty cat years equals around 136 human years. Prior to Scooter’s short reign, Corduroy, a 27-year-old Maine Coon from Sisters, Oregon held the record. With Scooter’s passing, the crown returned to Corduroy.
- May 6. Pierre was known as the penguin who sported a miniature wetsuit. The quirky African penguin had a lot in common with American Idol hottie, Chris Daughtry. Pierre was bald; more accurately, he had bald spots. Pierre, who lived at the California Academy of Science in San Francisco, lost patches of feathers. Keepers tried warming him with a heat lamp and treating him for hypothyroidism. Finally biologist Pam Schalle helped design a vest-shaped neoprene wetsuit to protect him from the bitter cold. Like the sexy bald guys, Sean Connery, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis, being follically challenged didn’t interfere with his love life. Pierre shared a nest with his girlfriend, Homey. They made a dozen little ones together. In mid-2016, vets diagnosed Pierre with kidney failure. He died at 33.
- May 28. Harambe was a 17-year-old Western lowland silverback gorilla living at the Cincinnati Zoo. Zookeepers shot and killed him after a three-year-old boy snuck past fences and barricades before falling 15 feet into the gorilla enclosure. Fearing for the boy’s life, zoo officials dispatched Harambe the day after his 17th birthday. The parents were not charged.
- June 7. Bretagne, was a search dog who hunted for survivors at Ground Zero after the 9/11 terror attacks brought down the World Trade Center Twin Towers. She also looked for victims in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan. The Golden Retriever was the longest surviving 9/11 search dog. She was euthanized at the age of 16 due to kidney failure.
- July 3. Arturo, a polar bear who lived in the Medoza Zoological Park in Argentina died at the age of 31.
- August 18. Machali, a Bengal tiger, was known as the Queen Mother of Tigers. At the time of her passing wild life experts believed she was the world’s oldest tigress surviving in the wild. She lived in India’s Ranthambore National Park. In August 2016, she became critically ill and died at the age of 20.
- August 27. Big Lobi, a 22-pound Massachusetts lobster, appeared destined for someone’s dinner plate. When Chris and David Schmidt saw the 50-year-old lobster for sale at the Chatham Fish Pier Market in Chatham, MA, they bought his freedom for $210. Sadly, two days after the brothers released Big Lobi, a fisherman found him dead. By the size of Big Lobi, experts estimated the giant crustacean survived 50 trips around the sun.
- September 26. Toughie was the last known surviving Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frog. Scientists believe that with Toughie’s passing, Rabb’s frogs officially moved to the extinct column. Known as the “Loneliest Frog on Earth,” conservationists captured Toughie in 2005 during a Panamanian expedition to rescue endangered amphibian species from a deadly chytrid fungus. They transported Toughie and “several dozen” Rabb’s frogs and tadpoles” to the Atlanta Botantical Garden in Georgia. Toughie made tadpoles with one of the rescued females, but none of the little ones survived. After Toughie’s girlfriend croaked, that left only Toughie and another male at Zoo Atlanta. Veterinarians euthanized the second to the last Rabb’s frog on February 17, 2012, due to illness. Toughie died quietly in his enclosure at the estimated age of 12.
- October. Granny (also known as J2 to marine biologists), went missing after October 12. Whale researchers believe she was 105 years old. In January 2017, the Center for Whale Research announced the likely demise of the longest living known orca.
- October 16. Jia Jia, a female giant panda, was the world’s oldest captive panda. A resident of Hong Kong’s Ocean Park, caretakers made the difficult choice to euthanize Jia Jia because she had become lethargic and stopped eating. She suffered from arthritis, high blood pressure and cataracts. Jai Jai’s 38 years translated into about 114 in human years.
- October 17. Pedals was a New Jersey black bear who became a sensation after videos of him walking upright like a human appeared on the internet. Pedals was killed by a hunter.
- November 14. Mahpiya Ska, also known as White Cloud, was a rare albino American bison who lived at the National Buffalo and Cultural Center in Jamestown, ND. Native Americans believed the 19-year-old animal was sacred.
- December 28. 2016 was a bad year for pandas. Pan Pan was a male giant panda who lived at the Giant Panda Protection and Research Centre in Chengdu, China. After Jia Jia’s death in October, 31-year-old Pan Pan became the oldest giant panda in captivity, at least for a couple of months. He died six months after being diagnosed with cancer.
- December 30. Sutter Brown, California Governor’s Pembroke Welsh Corgi, died from cancer at the age of 13.
Did I leave any significant 2016 animal deaths off of the list? Please tell me in the comments below.