Tributes after death of one of Blackpool Zoo's favourite animals

Blackpool Zoos orangutan Vicky flashes her famous smile
Blackpool Zoos orangutan Vicky flashes her famous smile
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One of Blackpool Zoo’s best loved animals has died.

Vicky, the Bornean orangutan, was well known among zoo regulars for her distinctive toothy smile.

The 34-year-old was born at the zoo in June 1984 and spent most of her life there apart from a short spell when the ape house was refurbished.

She had been suffering with poor health for a few years and hit the headlines in 2014 when she underwent ground breaking surgery.

READ MORE: In pictures: The life of Blackpool Zoo's beloved orangutan Vicky

A team of vets from Chester Zoo performed sinus surgery on Vicky in what was the first time the procedure has been carried out in the UK.

Darren Webster, zoo director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that Vicky, one of our beloved orangutans, has passed away.

“Vicky has battled with a chronic condition, called air sacculitis, for 15 years and was the first Bornean orangutan to undergo successful groundbreaking double surgery in UK history.

“She was also the first orangutan to be born at Blackpool Zoo and her arrival in 1984 was cause for huge celebration for staff, keepers and conservationists responsible for the species, which was declared critically endangered in 2016.

“Vicky gave birth to two healthy daughters, Cherie in 1997 and Summer in 2002, who remain at Blackpool Zoo with another female, Jingga and our male Ramon.

“She was a hugely popular member of our zoo family and was dearly loved by all of our visitors. Staff and keepers are extremely saddened at her passing and are being comforted by the kind messages of condolence we are receiving. Vicky, and her smile, will be missed by all.”