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Helsinki Zoo’s oldest animal dies

The 47 year old sloth, nicknamed the "grand old lady", was the oldest member of her species in Europe.

Sierainlaiskiainen Coco.
Coco lived in the zoo's Amazon House. Image: Korkeasaaren eläintarha

Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo's oldest animal, the sloth Coco-laskianen (or Coco-lazy), has died at the age of 47.

Coco was one of the oldest sloths in the world and the oldest of the Hoffmann's two-toed sloth species in Europe, according to a press release from the zoo.

Born in the Panamanian rainforest in 1973, Coco was initially in Seattle Zoo before moving to Korkeasaari in 1985 along with a three-year-old Seattle-born male called Dustin.

The two sloths had first been housed in Korkeasaari Zoo’s Monkey House, but were moved to the Amazon House when it was opened in the mid 1990s. Dustin passed away in 2003.

Over the past summer Coco’s health deteriorated as she battled anorexia and nausea, and she was anesthetised on Wednesday to undergo a health check up. However, based on the animal’s age, symptoms and the results of the check up, a decision was made to not awaken her from her sleep.

The sloth’s remains will be examined by the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine before being sent to the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus, where the remains of her life partner Dustin are already hanging on a tree branch.

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