'Like losing a friend': Assiniboine Park Zoo says goodbye to Perry the camel

The Assiniboine Park Zoo said Wednesday that Perry, a 23-year-old camel, had been euthanized due to age-related conditions.

23-year-old camel had lived at zoo since coming to the city in 1994

Perry the camel, 23, had to be put down at the Assiniboine Park Zoo due to age-related conditions. (Assiniboine Park Zoo/Facebook)

The Assiniboine Park Zoo has lost one of its long-time residents.

Perry the camel, who has called the zoo's camel enclosure home since 1994, has died. She was 23.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Perry," reads a statement posted on the zoo's Facebook page Wednesday.

"Perry had been under veterinary care for some time now due to age-related conditions until the difficult decision to euthanize her was made by the animal-care professionals who worked with her every day."

Assiniboine Park Zoo's marketing and communications specialist, Laura Cabak, said Perry had been living with arthritis and the decision to put the camel down was not easy for staff.

She said the loss has been hard on the staff and zookeepers who cared for her over her long life at the zoo.

"Obviously, the keepers who worked with her are impacted the most, but our visitors too, because she's been around for a long time," she said.

"Some of our visitors and our members really get to know the animals so anytime we lose one that's been with us for a while it's very sad. It is like losing a friend.

"They had to make a difficult choice, but we are all faced with that from time to time with pets and animals in our lives."

The zoo has three remaining camels, said Cabak.

Perry was a Bactrian — or two-humped — camel.

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology estimates the average lifespan of a Bactrian camel in captivity at around 35 years.