This week, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo announced the loss of a resident that delighted generations of visitors. Cookie the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo died on August 27, Chicagoist reports. At the age of 83, the bird held the title of oldest parrot in the world.
Cookie was a member of the original collection of animals that ushered in the zoo’s opening in 1934. He arrived at Brookfield when he was just a year old, and as he aged, the bird became one of the zoo's must-see attractions. Most Major Mitchell’s cockatoos don't live beyond age 60, so in the past few decades it became apparent that Cookie was remarkable. His annual birthday parties grew to be so large that they were moved outdoors to accommodate all the visitors. Fans who couldn’t visit him in person mailed in cards, letters, and toys addressed to the feathered celebrity.
Cookie at age 39. Image credit: Chicago Zoological Society.
“This is a sad day for staff, as well as for the many guests who came to Brookfield Zoo specifically to see Cookie,” Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society, said in a press release. “He was a very charismatic animal and definitely had a loyal fan base. He will be greatly missed.”
The zoo made the decision to euthanize Cookie on Saturday morning in light of his sudden decline in health. After retiring in 2009, Cookie lived the last years of his life in the zoo’s offices where “he enjoyed the constant companionship of the staff he knew so well.”
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