Australia euthanises its only flamingo

The elderly bird was more than 60 years old.
The elderly bird was more than 60 years old. Photo credit: Zoos SA

The last flamingo left in Australia has been put down after suffering a decline in health.

Chile the Chilean flamingo was euthanised at the Adelaide Zoo on Friday night.

The flamingo was more than 60 years old and suffering from health problems, including arthritis.

Zoos SA says Chile was at the point where "no additional medication could have improved her life".

"We'd been monitoring her health for quite some time. It was a very, very peaceful end," CEO Elaine Bensted tells ABC.

"But it's still obviously sad to say goodbye."

Chile arrived at the zoo in the early 1970s, and proved to be a huge hit with the public.

"She was very loved. She was the only flamingo in Australia," Ms Bensted says.

"Every time she was standing out in this nice sunny patch out the front of her pond with this crowd of visitors all taking photos, it really literally looked like she was just posing for the camera."

But despite her age, it wasn't until Chile's death that zookeepers realised she was female.

"Flamingos have internal sex organs so we were never really quite sure," Ms Bensted says.

"Because she'd never laid any eggs, the sort of assumption was most likely she was male."