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Ralph the emu passes away at Denver Zoo

Ralph, a 26-year-old emu that first arrived at the Denver Zoo in 2000 has died – he was a favorite with both zoo visitors and his own care staff.
Credit: Denver Zoo
Ralph came to Denver Zoo in 2000. His keepers said he was curious and loved people.

DENVER — A beloved member of the Denver Zoo community has sadly passed away. 

Ralph the Emu went into cardiac arrest on Feb. 23 at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital. He was originally being evaluated for a number of chronic medical conditions by veterinary medicine and animal care teams.

 According to the zoo, a full necropsy and pathology are being conducted to better understand the underlying medical conditions at what may have contributed to his death. 

Ralph arrived at the zoo in 2000. Ever since then, he's been a favorite with both zoo visitors and his own care staff.

According to those who took care of him, Ralph was an incredibly social bird who loved to interact with guests and his care team. 

>BELOW VIDEO: Sending Love to Ralph, the Emu

"Ralph was certainly the best emu I have ever worked with. He was so curious, had an incredible personality, and loved all of his people just as much as they loved him," said one member of his care team. "Ralph loved getting showers with the hose in the summertime, and I will dearly miss giving him all of the scratches he desired."

Another member of his care team remembers him for not only the impact he had on them but the impact he had on everyone he came into contact with.

"One of the highlights as a zookeeper is seeing the connections people form with our animals. Most of the time you can expect those connections with larger mammals like elephants, lions or apes. I have only worked with Ralph for two years, but it did not take long to learn that Ralph had a fan base. A massive one at that. Ralph made connections with the caretakers that worked with him daily, to the other departments in the Zoo, volunteers, and the guests that visited the Zoo."

Ralph the Emu was 26 years old. 

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