An alligator rumored to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler died on Friday, the Moscow Zoo announced on Saturday.
The Moscow Zoo said in a Facebook post translated by the BBC that the alligator named Saturn was about to turn 84 years old, which the zoo called “an extremely respectable age” as the species tends to live for only about 30 to 50 years in the wild.
The Moscow Zoo said it had “the honor” of having Saturn for 74 years.
The Mississippi alligator was born in the U.S. around 1936 and then sent to the Berlin Zoo as a gift, according to Fox News.
In 1943, Saturn escaped the zoo when Berlin was bombed by Allied forces, and his location was unknown until British soldiers found him and gave him to the Soviet Union, according to the Associated Press’s translation of the zoo’s post.
“Almost immediately, the myth was born that he was allegedly in the collection of Hitler and not in the Berlin Zoo,” the zoo said.
But it noted that “animals are not involved in war and politics and it is absurd to blame them for human sins.”
Вчера утром наш миссисипский аллигатор Сатурн умер от старости. Ему было около 84 лет – крайне почтенный возраст. Московскому зоопарку выпала честь содержать Сатурна 74 года. Он видел многих из нас детьми. Надеемся, что мы его не разочаровали. pic.twitter.com/UigsB8xwBv— Московский Зоопарк (@moscowzoo) May 23, 2020
Saturn will be taxidermied, and his remains will be put on exhibit at Moscow’s Darwin Museum, according to the BBC.
“For us Saturn was an entire era, and that's without the slightest exaggeration,” the zoo said in the post, adding, “He saw many of us as children. We hope that we did not disappoint him.”