We are heartbroken to share that the tough, but compassionate decision was made to euthanize our longtime Barnyard resident, Casper the alpaca, after his quality of life recently took a significant downturn.
Casper lived with several incurable conditions with limited treatments, including arthritis and chronic kidney disease. Around the beginning of October, Casper started showing signs of discomfort. He was treated with pain medication, but his symptoms did not significantly improve.
At 14 years old, Casper was considered geriatric for an alpaca. All animal residents at our Zoo who are geriatric or experiencing health issues are given regular quality of life assessments. An animal care team looks at objective measures like the resident’s hygiene, mobility, appetite and more, to prevent future suffering.
Once Casper’s quality of life had declined to a level that was no longer acceptable, our animal care team made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.
Casper has been a beloved animal resident in our Barnyard for many years. He came to our Zoo in 2007 when he was about 6 months old with his mom, Carletta. He made quite an impression on his keepers and our guests with his good looks – those blue eyes! – and his personality.
He lived in the Barnyard with a number of other animal residents, including his mom and fellow alpaca Rosita. The trio shared many birthday salads… he loved veggie day!
Casper loved to go on walks and observe everything around him, said one of his keepers, Em Waitt. He’d love to suddenly stop, drop to the ground and roll around.
“You’d just patiently wait for him until he was done and then he’d get up and we’d keep walking,” Em said. “He also loved bushes, so we’d have to give them some distance, so he didn’t just throw himself into a bush just for fun.”
When his keepers would bring browse to the yard, Casper would run over and try to roll in it as well – before it was even out of their hands! In the summer, he could also be found standing in and drinking from the sprinkler at once.
As an Ambassador Animal, Casper attended many weddings and events. He had two bowties that he would wear depending on the occasion.
“He brought so much joy to so many over his lifetime in the Barnyard, and he will be deeply missed,” Em said.
Saying goodbye to such a beloved resident is always tough. Please keep our Zoo staff and volunteers, especially those who care for our Barnyard residents, in your thoughts.