PETA and Friends of Manila Zoo butt heads over death of Bertha the Hippo
Bertha the hippo, the world's oldest known zoo hippopotamus, passed away on July 7
Jul 17, 2017
On the morning of July 7, Bertha the hippopotamus was found dead in her enclosure by the zookeepers of Manila Zoo.
Bertha was the zoo’s oldest habitant and was also acknowledged as the world’s oldest known hippopotamus in captivity. The senior zoo member lived up to 65 years old, a good 15 years more than the average life span of any hippo.
An autopsy conducted on the female hippopotamus revealed that Bertha did not suffer from any diseases. The post-mortem exam identified the cause of her death as multiple organ failure, also reported as complications from old age.
Despite these results, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia took to Facebook to air their grievances, claiming that “Bertha’s life at the Manila Zoo was full of misery and deprivation.”
The animal rights organization furthered this statement on their website, elaborating on their dissatisfaction with the treatment of animals kept in Manila Zoo.
PETA Asia’s post reads, “Bertha’s life at the Manila Zoo was full of frustration, misery, and deprivation. Animals imprisoned at zoos are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, and every aspect of their lives is manipulated and controlled. They have no say in when they can eat, what they can eat, when they can sleep, and whom they can mate with. Their enclosures, including the one Bertha was confined to, are tiny fractions of the size of their natural habitats, and their specific needs are neglected.”
A couple of days later, Friends of Manila Zoo released their own statement in response to PETA Asia’s claims of maltreatment and neglect.
The post asserts that Bertha lived a happy life under the care of her zookeepers, reminding the public that the senior hippo passed away due to old age, not neglect. They also emphasize that captivity does not kill. On the contrary, it actually helps animals live a longer and more comfortable life.
The group also alludes to PETA Asia’s tendency to exploit certain events to further its own agenda. They questioned the sincerity of PETA Asia’s concern, citing the ban of several Zoo Crew Philippines members who messaged PETA Asia in the hopes of clarifying any misconceptions about Bertha’s care and her passing.
“If the arguments of PETA were true, there would be no need then to ban anybody and delete their comments,” their post read.
Meanwhile, Manila Zoo is still under fire because of Mali the elephant’s current situation under their care.