On Friday, the El Paso Zoo reported the death of Ralph, a 120-year-old Galápagos Tortoise who had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor.

Earlier this year, Zoo veterinarians had diagnosed Ralph with an intestinal blockage and later confirmed:

that the blockage was caused by a malignant tumor, intestinal adenocarcinoma, through an initial procedure, which also partially relieved the obstruction and bought Ralph some more time.

As a last-chance attempt to save its life, a high-risk surgical procedure was attempted after a lengthy consultation and discussion between veterinary tortoise experts.

Unfortunately, the procedure which has been successful on smaller tortoises was unsuccessful, and Ralph sadly did not survive and passed away while under anesthesia.

El Paso Zoo

Despite the veterinary team’s best efforts to save Ralph’s life, they were left "devested" after his passing but understood that the procedure was just too much for his system to take.

Ralph moved to El Paso in 2016 after transferring from the Phoenix Zoo as part of a species survival plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Galápagos Tortoises are rare beautiful animals that hail from the Galápagos Islands and live to be over 150 years old.  According to Galapagos.org, over two centuries ago, the Galápagos Islands were home to more than 200,000 of these gentle giant tortoises. Today, a total of 15 species of Galápagos Tortoises have been identified on the island - two of which have gone extinct, and 12 threatened with extinction. As a result, the Galapagos Tortoise is on the endangered list.

Ralph is the second animal that has passed away this year due to cancer. A month ago, Juno - The Asian Elephant, passed away after being diagnosed with cancer in October of 2016.

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