MOSCOW, September 27 (RIA Novosti) – A male member of a rare egg-laying mammal species succumbed to a “chronic illness” after 16 years at the Moscow Zoo, the park said Thursday on its Facebook page.
Named Smol, the tiny endangered echidna, or spiny anteater, who “loved to swim,” was brought to Moscow from its native New Guinea in 1997.
But the zoo never found a mate for him, and his enclosure was never open to the public because he got too stressed out in the presence of visitors, the zoo said in the statement.
Smol was the last zoo-kept member of his species in Europe, the zoo said, without naming the illness.
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