Oldest Hippo in North America Dies

Posted on: 1:38 pm, January 14, 2014, by , updated on: 01:45pm, January 14, 2014

(Courtesy: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo)

(Courtesy: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo)

CLEVELAND — The animal kingdom has lost a record-setting hippo that lived in Cleveland.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced the oldest Nile hippopotamus in North America was euthanized Monday because of age-related ailments.

Blackie was estimated to be about 59 years old when he died.

That’s a long life considering most hippos live between 30-40 years in the wild, and sometimes a few years longer in captivity.

Blackie made Cleveland his home beginning in 1955 and generation after generation watched him grow.

He lived his final years in a special heated pool that was created just for him in 2008, where he floated around and ate lots of produce.

Blackie leaves behind three male hippos he sired.

Hippo populations are declining because of habitat loss and poaching.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the animal as “vulnerable.”


  • redhead says:

    I didn’t know the Cleveland Zoo had hippos. Where are the located in the zoo?

  • Robert Green says:

    They have a hippo in Homosassa Florida that is older.

  • OGREGO says:

    SO SAD

  • Sheri Serrau says:

    in old elephant house but now was in giraffe house got to see him in 2012 when they had hippo days at the zoo

  • K says:

    We loved it when Blackie was behind the elephant house. When we would call his name he would always look at us. We missed him when he was moved!!!! RIP Blackie from the Shearer family.

  • Clay R Van Gastel says:

    If you follow the path to the left as you enter the Cleveland Zoo you’ll first see the Elephants, go past the open theater on the left & then you’ll come to the Hippo pens on the right side.
    Also check out the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo website & you can get a map of where all the animals exhibits are.

  • Brenda WIdger says:

    This saddens my heart….I have some to the Cleveland Zoo since I was a little girl…(.I am 56)….and always had to tell everyone with me about Blackie and how old he was and how good he was doing in the Zoo. I have never gone there without seeing him. A very sad time for all of us with his loss. I for one will miss seeing him. Love you Blackie….Brenda Mace Widger.

  • Karen says:

    So sad… We’d take our boys there every other Friday when they were little, and we actually got to watch Blackie play and eat quite a few times bc we were there so much. Glad to hear he has three heirs. Hopefully they’ll live a long life like their father.

  • Isaiah Phillips says:

    He has been here longer than I have

  • D. says:

    He didn’t die, they killed him. He was too old and had health problems.

  • Steve says:

    That is sad, I wish the best for his family

  • Steve says:

    Hippos are great animals. I love seeing them at the zoo. Inspiring

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