Brookfield Zoo’s popular bird Cookie, an 83-year-old Major Mitchell’s cockatoo who had been at the zoo since it opened in 1934, has died, zoo officials said Monday.
Cookie, who was certified by Guinness World Records as the oldest living parrot in 2014, died over the weekend due to complications with his health.
“On Saturday morning, Cookie suffered a very abrupt decline in his health, prompting the veterinary and animal care staff to make the extremely difficult decision that it was time to peacefully euthanize him,” Michael Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, said in a statement.
Cookie was the oldest resident at the zoo and lived well beyond the life expectancy for his species. He arrived at the zoo at the age of 1 from Taronga Zoo in Australia.
“This is a sad day for staff, as well as for the many guests who came to Brookfield Zoo specifically to see Cookie,” Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society, said in a statement. “He was a very charismatic animal and definitely had a loyal fan base. He will be greatly missed.”
Cookie was a very popular animal at the zoo and consistently received cards, letters, toys and pictures from admirers around the world, zoo officials said. Staff held annual birthday parties for Cookie, which began indoors but grew so popular they had to be moved outside to accommodate all the guests.
Zoo officials said Cookie faced numerous age-related ailments, including osteoporosis, arthritis, and cataracts. He had been residing in the staff’s office since 2009 after his “retirement.”
Hundreds have taken to the zoo’s Facebook page to offer condolences and memories of Cookie.
The Chicago Zoological Society plans to set up a memorial fund at for those who would like to make a donation in memory of Cookie.