Northumberland Zoo says goodbye to oldest resident Bert the raccoon

Bert the raccoon, who was one of Northumberland Zoo's first residents, has died at the age of 13. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

A zoo has said goodbye to one of its oldest residents - Bert the raccoon - who has died at the age of 13.

Northumberland Zoo paid tribute to Bert, who has lived there since 2010.

The raccoon was one of the zoo's first residents when he moved in at the age of nine months, after being attempted to be kept as a private pet.

In a statement on Facebook, the zoo said: "Bert has inspired and touched the hearts of so many staff and visitors over the years. He has been an amazing ambassador for his species."

They added Bert was put to sleep under anaesthetic following a check-up which found he was only using 10% of his lung capacity and his heart was failing.

Bert was put to sleep under anaesthetic after a check-up found he only had 10% lung capacity. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

Fans of Bert have been sharing their memories and pictures of him on social media.

One zoo goer wrote: "He was such a wonderful critter and brought so much joy. Rest easy bin bandit. You were so very loved."

Another said: "We came to this zoo solely to see Bert years and years ago and have visited regularly since. I was lucky to do an experience with just him and he left his muddy prints all over my coat and legs! This is such sad news."

He was also described as an "absolute star" with the "cutest face".

Raccoons are not native to the UK and are classed as an invasive species due to the number which are kept as pets and then released into the wild when they become too much for the owners.

Northumberland Zoo said the animals may "appear cute", however are "incredibly destructive, possessive and can be very aggressive".

The zoo has nine raccoons, which is one of the largest groups in Europe.

It added: "If you want to see and experience raccoons, then you can see them at a number of zoos in the UK and in the wilds of the Americas - please don't encourage the trade of these animals as pets."

People can watch the raccoons 24 hours a day on the zoo's live webcam, available on its app.

Bert was described as an "amazing ambassador" for his species. Credit: Northumberland Zoo

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