Korkeasaari’s oldest resident, Coco the sloth, dies age 47

The Hoffman's two-toed sloth had been in declining health over the summer.

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File picture of Coco the Hoffman's two-toed sloth at Helsinki Zoo / Credit: Korkeasaari

The oldest resident at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo has died age 47.

Coco the Hoffman’s two-toed sloth – nicknamed Lazy Coco in Finnish – was the oldest of her species in Europe, one of the oldest in the world, and had been in declining health over the summer. She was suffering from anorexia and nausea, and when she was anesthetised on Wednesday for an examination veterinarians decided not to wake her up again, based on her age and symptoms.

Born in the rain forests of Panama in 1973, Coco first went to live at a zoo in Seattle but moved to Helsinki in 1985 with a three-year old male called Dustin, who was born in Seattle. At first they lived in the Monkey House but then moved to the Amazon House in the mid-1990s with other South American species.

Dustin died in 2003 and since then Coco spent her time in the Amazon House trees where carrots and boiled potatoes were among her favourite treats. The zoo keepers fed her directly, to ensure other animals didn’t steal her food.

Coco spent much of her day sleeping, or hanging upside down in the trees, and came down to the ground only once per week.

After an examination at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Coco will likely end up at the Natural History Museum where Dustin is already hanging from a tree as part of an exhibit.