We recently said goodbye to Carletta the alpaca, one of the longtime residents of our Barnyard area. She first became a member of our Zoo in August 2008 along with her son, Casper, who is still one of our Barnyard residents along with her friend and fellow alpaca Rosita.
Carletta was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in October 2019, leading our animal care team to monitor her bloodwork quarterly and urine values monthly. She also had a chronic inflammatory response that our veterinary team believes might have been caused by her kidney disease, but this has not been confirmed yet.
At 19 years old, Carletta was considered geriatric for her species. As with all our older residents, our animal care team performed regular quality of life assessments of Carletta to keep an eye on her comfort and health. She started showing abnormal behaviors, including difficulty walking. These issues worsened significantly in the past few weeks, despite ongoing pain management.
Our animal care team made the tough and compassionate decision to euthanize Carletta on Thursday to prevent future suffering.
Carletta’s keepers say she was a very sweet, calm and gentle alpaca. She loved to sit in the pool or walk through the sprinkler. She was the only one of the alpacas that wouldn’t get all the way into the pool – she’d sit halfway in, remembered one of Carletta’s keepers, Em Waitt.
Carletta shared her Barnyard home with a number of other animal residents over the years, from armadillos to goats. One of the Barnyard’s chickens, Penny, loved to sit on Carletta’s back. Penny didn’t sit on either of the other alpacas – but Carletta never minded a bit, Em said.
When you called her name, Carletta would tilt her head and look at you with the sweetest face, Em said. She loved to roll and rub on browse when her keepers brought it into the yard.
“She will be greatly missed,” Em said. “We will be giving Rosie lots of love and attention because she and Carletta spent a lot of their time together for many years.”