Assiniboine Park Zoo's Chewbacca the sloth dies
Chewbacca has lived at the zoo since 1999
The Assiniboine Park Zoo has lost a long-time and beloved face from its Toucan Ridge exhibit.
Chewbacca the sloth — better known as "Chewy" — has died.
Assiniboine Park spokesperson Laura Cabak says Chewy lived at the zoo since 1999 and is estimated to have been 25 years old.
"He was unique — just the name alone — made him kind of special," said Cabak of Chewy, who earned his name by looking remarkably like the furry Star Wars character. "He was here for a long time and anytime an animal goes it's sad, but there are some that we develop closer relationships with and I think Chewy was one of them."
A note posted to the zoo's Facebook page said Chewy was a favourite among visitors who was "known for taking long and luxurious naps."
Cabak said he'll be missed by all staff and volunteers at the zoo, in particular the keepers who worked with him on a daily basis in Toucan Ridge.
"The animals are very much members of the family here," she said.
A necropsy has been performed to determine the exact cause of Chewy's death, and Cabak said initial examinations indicate he died from age-related illnesses.
Cabak said the zoo's curatorial team will now start looking for a new sloth.
"They are a great fit in our Toucan Ridge exhibit, which features plants and animals from Central America, which certainly includes sloths," she said.
"We're certainly on the look out for one, and when that happens we'll share that good news with our visitors and supporters because I know they'll be interested."