'One-of-a-kind': Phoenix Zoo announces passing of 'oldest anteater' in US

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our giant anteater, Ebenezer," the Phoenix Zoo wrote in a touching Facebook post Wednesday morning.

His health had declined "significantly," the zoo said, and the decision was made to humanely euthanize him.

"Keepers, campers and tour guests fell in love with him when they were able to meet him in person and undoubtedly felt lucky to have had that experience," the zoo wrote.

Ebenezer was 28 years old which, according to the zoo, would make him the oldest anteater in the United States.

But more than that, Ebenezer -- who loved to explore, eat, forage, swim, sleep curled up and greet keepers -- was a beloved member of the zoo's family.

The zoo shared some of its fondest memories of Ebenezer in the touching post.

PHOTOS: 'Oldest anteater' in US passes away at Phoenix Zoo

"He made the cutest noises when he would eagerly slurp up his slurry diet or worms, and he brought such joy to anyone who had the chance to hand feed him some avocado – his favorite treat of all."

Ebenezer leaves behind 118 descendants, over 40 of which, according to the zoo, are in zoos across the pond in Europe.

The zoo said although it would greatly miss the old guy, it was proud of the impact he's made on conservation and the legacy he forever leaves behind.

"He was such a sweet boy, and all of his caretakers will forever have a special place in their heart for him."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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