Hippo euthanized because of illness

Montgomery the hippopotamus has been euthanized at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia after what zoo officials said was several months of illness. Montgomery was 36.

COLUMBIA — A hippopotamus that was one of the first animals at Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo and Garden was euthanized Tuesday after several months of illness.

Zoo officials said Wednesday that Montgomery had arthritis in two ankles, a tooth infection and digestive problems caused by pain medication. The zoo said the hippo's condition became difficult to control and treat.

Monty, as he also was called, was the only hippo at the zoo, and spokeswoman Lindsay Burke said the zoo doesn't have immediate plans to get another.

Zoo senior veterinarian Keith Benson said it became difficult to keep Montgomery comfortable as the illness progressed.

Montgomery was born at the Memphis Zoo in 1972 and had been at the Columbia zoo since 1974. A flamingo and a saki monkey are the zoo's two remaining original animals.