Granddad, the Shedd Aquarium Australian lungfish that was the oldest zoo animal in Chicago and the longest lived aquarium fish in the world, died Sunday, the aquarium announced Monday.
The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago said the fish, in his 90s, was euthanised after losing interest in food and showing signs of organ failure.
Granddad, who weighed 11kg (24lbs), had been seen by more than 100 million people since arriving in Chicago from his native Australia in 1933.
“For a fish who spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages who would hear his story and learn about the incredible biology that makes his species a living fossil and one of the oldest living vertebrate genera on the planet,” Shedd President and CEO Bridget Coughlin said in a statement.
Grandad wasn’t just the oldest fish at the Shedd Aquarium, he was the oldest fish in any public zoo or aquarium. He first came to Chicago in 1933 as part of a partnership with the Australian government that included the exchange of native fishes between the Shedd and Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. Lungfish, which have existed for more than 380 million years, are among a few fish species that can breathe air and live to be 100 years old. The Shedd couldn’t say exactly how old Grandad was at the time of his death but added that he was probably in his mid-90s.
“Granddad lived a pretty relaxed life, enjoyed interactions with us, including gentle pats along his back, and [he] loved to eat his leafy greens,” collections manager Michelle Sattler said in a news release. Sattler, who has provided care for Granddad for more than 15 years, said he will be missed. “We loved him.”
In September 2013, the Shedd held a celebration for Granddad’s 80th anniversary at the aquarium. To mark the occasion, he received a unique layered cake filled with a few of his favorite ingredients, including smelt, shrimp, yellow squash, carrots, potatoes and green peas. More than 104 million guests are estimated to have visited Granddad over the years. But if you haven’t been to the Shedd in a while, check out these photos of the aquarium’s favorite fish.