• Kyodo

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Jukichi, the nation’s oldest hippopotamus, died Monday of old age at a zoo in Nagoya, zoo officials said. He was 53 years old, equivalent to more than 100 human years.

Jukichi, brought to Japan from Kenya in 1952, was mated with a female hippo named Fukuko, who had 19 babies over the course of their life together. All 19 were given to zoos across the country, where they have continued to breed. About 60 percent of hippopotamuses in Japan are descendant’s of Jukichi.

Since Fukuko died of old age in 1997, Jukichi lost his appetite and began to wither away. In March 2001, zoo officials began hand-feeding Jukichi, and giving him nutritional supplements.

The hippopotamus’ funeral, to be held at Higashiyama Zoo, will be open to the public.

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