One of Zoo Knoxville's animal ambassadors has died.
Gypsy, a 30-year-old African penguin, started showing serious health problems on Sunday. Veterinarians from UT's College of Veterinary Medicine worked to save her, even performing blood transfusions with blood donated by other members of the zoo's flock, but they were unsuccessful.
Her health continued to decline rapidly and the difficult decision was made Monday to humanely euthanize her when it became clear she would not recover," said zoo officials in a press release.
Gypsy first came to Zoo Knoxville in 1992 from King's Island, Ohio, where she successfully hatched her only offspring in 1994. She spent a few years at Memphis Zoo, from 2001 to 2004, then returned to her flock in Knoxville.
She is well known to zoo visitors and is frequently part of behind-the-scenes encounters and special interactions with visitors. She is one of the zoo's animals that was also an artist, creating her own unique penguin paintings, much to the delight of the kids lucky enough to watch.
African penguins are now endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and massive declines in prey abundance,