COLUMBIA, S.C. — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has announced the loss of Lottie, a koala that was with the zoo for 19 years.
Lottie lived 19 years at Riverbanks, and according to the Zoo, had a large impact on the koala population in AZA-accredited zoos. She was considered one of the world's oldest koalas. Koalas usually live an average of 13-18 years.
Riverbanks director of animal care and welfare John Davis told News19, "Lottie did everything just right. She was always receptive to the keepers, she was always great on exhibit, she was a wonderful mom and she took such great care of her joeys. She was always here on exhibit and she lived a very very healthy life which is a testament to the care that she received here at Riverbanks and all the people who cared so deeply for her.”
He says she helped raise awareness for the "magnificent" animals by just being on exhibit. "While we’re all sad because we gave so many years of care to her and of course she inspired so many gifts throughout the years, it’s sad but it’s certainly also a life worth celebrating," Davis says.
In a Facebook post, the Zoo mourns the loss of Lottie: "Anyone who has ever loved an animal knows, we experience many incredible “ups” during our time with them, but we experience extreme lows when that time ends. We're very sad to announce the loss of Riverbanks' beloved koala, Lottie."
Lottie arrived from Queensland, Australia in 2003 and went on to raise 11 joeys. Her family tree includes 15 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, and 3 great great grandchildren.
Lottie was a favorite among guests and staff alike and will always be remembered and an iconic ambassador for koalas.