Phoenix Zoo mourns loss of its 28-year-old anteater

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(Source: Phoenix Zoo) (Source: Phoenix Zoo)

The Phoenix Zoo has lost its 28-year-old anteater, Ebenezer.

 Zoo officials say Ebenezer was euthanized because his health had declined significantly.

According to zoo officials, the anteater fathered 12 offspring, 31 grand-offspring and has 118 descendants, including 40 now at zoos in Europe.

A Facebook post from the Zoo reads, in part:

"Ebenezer, fondly known as "Eb" or "Squeezer,” was a one-of-a-kind animal. He loved to sleep curled up with his tail covering his face, and spent most of his time foraging, eating and swimming – unless a keeper was present. Each time we arrived to feed him throughout the day, he would stop what he was doing and come over to greet us. He was the best at sniffing you all over and sticking his wet nose through the mesh and into your pockets, ears, shoes and whatever else that smelled interesting to him that day. 

He made the cutest noises when he would eagerly slurp up his slurry diet or worms, and he brought such joy to anyone who had the chance to hand feed him some avocado – his favorite treat of all. Keepers, campers and tour guests fell in love with him when they were able to meet him in person and undoubtedly felt lucky to have had that experience. He truly enjoyed exploring his habitat, and spent his afternoons digging up bugs in the dirt and taking a relaxing dip in his pond (as pictured here). 

He was such a sweet boy, and all of his caretakers will forever have a special place in their heart for him. We will miss the "old man" greatly, but are so proud of the legacy he leaves behind and the impact he has had on the conservation of his species."

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