GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Officials from the NEW Zoo & Adventure Park say they are saddened as they mourn the passing of beloved Todd the elk.

Zoo officials say that staff check on all the animals within the zoo every morning in what they call a “zoo clear.” During Friday’s zoo clear, Todd was reportedly observed by his keep as appearing to be normal and doing well inside the North American Prairie habitat.

Sometime after the zoo opened, officials say the staff was alerted by guests that one of the Elks looked to have an issue. Upon immediate investigation, zoo keepers say Todd was found to have an apparent abdominal hernia.

Officials say the situation was treated as an emergency with veterinary staff on the scene in less than an hour to sedate Todd, assess the area, and determine a course of action.

Zoo keepers and the veterinary staff say they took everything into consideration like the extent of the hernia and the complications of performing the surgery required, it was determined the best course of action for Todd was humane euthanasia.

In a statement, Zoo staff members say, “Todd’s presence at the Zoo will be deeply missed. Guests and staff alike were always impressed by his massive antler growth each summer and his magnificent antlers each fall. Todd loved apples and sweet corn, and he really loved “attacking” trees – especially the many Christmas trees donated to the Zoo each January. Like all males of the deer family, Todd could be aggressive and even dangerous to work around during the rut (breeding season), but safety for his habitat mates and his caretakers was always of the utmost importance. Todd’s sassy attitude (and his “Elvis lip curl!”) endeared him to his caretakers, and he was well-loved by our zoo family.”

Zoo officials say the average life expectancy of a wild elk is 10-13 years while elk in human care have reached up to 20 years of age. Todd was 11 years old at the time of his death.

Zoo keepers say they will closely monitor the remaining animals, a 15-year-old female elk, and two 9-year-old female bison, inside the North American Prairie Habitat as they deal with the loss of their habitat-mate.