Saint John zoo mourns death of beloved llama
A New Brunswick zoo has said farewell to a beloved llama with a personality big enough to match his size.
Cuzcothe llama was a fixture at Saint John's Cherry Brook Zoo.
Cuzco was one of the zoo's favourite residents.
“Everyone perpetuates the stereotype that they spit on people but they don't, and he broke that stereotype for a lot of people,” said zookeeper Megan Gorey.
Cuzco was born in 2000 and was quite the character -- a real goofball and was an animal that everybody loved.
Cuzco passed away last week of old age and was the second-oldest llama in the zoo. The oldest being his dad, Peppy.
The zoo says Cuzco had a good, full life including attending kids birthday parties as a zoo mascot.
"He was able to benefit from being handled, meaning that he got to go on walks around the zoo and he got to leave his enclosure some,” said zookeeper Courtney Granger. “He got a chance to see the rest of the zoo himself, but he had a very good life here, just like all the animals at the zoo.”
Cuzco and his sister Penny, who still lives at the zoo, were both used for training volunteers because of their gentle personalities.
“They were two of the first animals here at the zoo to be worked with by volunteers,” said senior zookeeper Hugh O’Hara.
The zoo has put a post on its Facebook page asking people to share their memories and pictures of Cuzco, who is now buried on zoo grounds.
“A lot of people came here just literally to see the llamas, and see him, and he was the best, so he was well loved and I'm happy that everybody is showing so much love and appreciation for him,” said Gorey.
O’Hara said the staff at Cherry Brook Zoo were fond of Cuzco.
“You get attached, whether you want to or not, you do get attached,” O’Hara said. “They're part of your life every day you know.”
While Cuzco might be gone, and no longer part of their everyday life, his handlers say the beloved llama will never be forgotten.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Lyall.