After 23 years at Orana Wildlife Park, Roldo the llama was euthanised yesterday due to an age-related illness.
The park's veterinary and animal management team made the agonising decision after Roldo's condition rapidly declined over the course of a few days.
The llama was known for his temperament, giving thousands of children the opportunity to pat and brush him during zoo school programmes.
The park's chief executive Lynn Anderson purchased Roldo at a Rare Breeds Auction in 1999 and believed he was five years old when she purchased him.
"He could potentially be one of the oldest llamas in the world (the current record holder is 27 years old and verified by Guinness World Records). I will miss Roldo and he will always hold a special place in my heart."
The park's staff said Roldo will be greatly missed and they said they considered it a privilege to work with such a beautiful and amazing animal.