11/01/2012 02:54 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Gidget, Denver Zoo Sea Lion Was Humanely Euthanized On Halloween

Gidget, a 27-year-old California sea lion was humanely euthanized on Halloween, according to a press release by the Denver Zoo.

It's been a sad year for the zoo, which now counts Gidget as its fourth animal that's had to be euthanized at the zoo this year. Just last August, Bismarck, a physically-challenged seal missing his back flippers passed away because of complications during a neutering surgery.

In March a 25-year-old polar bear named Soosha passed away due to failing health, and earlier in October, old age also claimed the zoo's much-beloved elephant named Mimi.

"Gidget was a very charismatic animal that charmed millions of guests over the years at our sea lion show. She loved working with her keepers and awing guests with her swimming and agility. We are deeply saddened by this loss. She was adored by everyone that had the pleasure of meeting her," says Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper.

In 2010, zookeepers said Gidget began to show signs of bodily stiffness and discomfort when walking, and she was diagnosed with arthritis. She began a regimen of pain-killers, physical therapy and medication to help her aging joints but she recently began refusing food and the zoo made the decision to humanely euthanize Gidget.

Gidget gave a kiss to then-Mayor John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) in 2009 to celebrate the city and the Zoo achieving ISO highest certification for sustainable management. Gidget also used to help 9News pick the winner of Denver Broncos games.

According to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums California Sea Lion Species Survival Plan, the median life expectancy of a female sea lion is 22.3 years.



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