BioPark celebrates 90th anniversary with some of its oldest residents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark Zoo is celebrating its 90th birthday this month, but some of its residents are even older. Do you know which ones?

“Giraffe. Elephant. Uh, tortoise. Oh! Good guess,” said a family visiting from Colorado.

“The turtle or the tortoise?” said another family.

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is the oldest resident at the Albuquerque BioPark Zoo. The zoo has three of them. It’s not only the oldest resident at the zoo, but it’s been living there longer than any other animal.

“We acquired it in 1967 from another zoo and previous to that it had been in the wild so we’re not exactly certain how old it is,” said Greg Jackson with the ABQ BioPark.

Zoo staff thinks all three tortoises are around 75 to 100 years old. However, the gorilla comes in a close second and zoo staff are sure of her age.

“Behind me is Huerfanita and she is our 44-year-old Western lowland gorilla,” said Lynn Tupa, the zoo manager.

She is the second oldest animal at the zoo.

“She was born here in 1973 so she was the first Western lowland gorilla born here,” said Tupa.

While the tortoise is a bit harder to interact with, zoo staff says this gorilla is a crowd favorite.

“She’s the well-respected grandma in the group, but she’s not as active as the younger ones and the public loves her,” said Tupa.

Besides tortoises, the zoo says the animal with the longest average lifespan is the elephant. They can live anywhere from 30 to 50 years and there are six at the zoo right now.

The rhino can also live just as long. The zoo currently has two adult rhinos.

The zoo is celebrating their 90th anniversary with half-priced tickets on October 21 and 22. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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