My absolute favourite animal at the Adelaide Zoo is "Greater" the Greater Flamingo.
In his mid 80's he is believed to be the oldest living flamingo in the world and is one of only 2 flamingos in Australia (both of them in the Adelaide zoo). Once these 2 flamingos are gone, there will be no more. No Australian Zoo is planning on importing any more of the species.
Originally one of quite a few flamingos in the zoo, their numbers have slowly dwindled and he now shares his enclosure with "Chilean", the orange coloured Chilean flamingo. They live in the zoo's oldest exhibit in the zoo - the Flamingo Grott was constructed in 1885.
Zoo keepers are not 100% sure if Greater is male or female. But the word is that the bird is male as his/her original name is supposed to have been Alexander, after Alexander the Great. I always call him, him.
A few years ago, he was victim to a vicious and horrendous physical assault. The public were outraged and sickened by this vile attack on such a graceful and gentle animal.
At the time the Adelaide Zoo reported: "Bird keeper Vaughan Wilson said that when the critically injured bird was found in its exhibit this time last year, 'Greater' was in shock and unable to stand. Concussed and having difficulty breathing, 'Greater' was bleeding from around his beak and eyes, and had a depression fracture in his skull."
But thankfully he recovered, albeit with the loss of sight in 1 eye. He was quickly back to trusting people again and once again he was the rock star of the zoo.
Just recently the Zoo announced that Greater is not expected to live for much longer. He is very old and suffering terribly from arthritis. There are zoo volunteers on "Flamingo watch" all day every day to monitor his condition.
He's been with us in the Adelaide Zoo since approx 1930 and this winter may be his last.
If you have wanted to visit the flamingos at the zoo, go soon and visit this wonderful bird. He will be missed my many, including yours truly.