The story from the front page of the international newspaper, China Daily.
The story from the front page of the international newspaper, China Daily.

How a lungfish called Granddad made global news

A LUNGFISH from the Mary or Burnett river systems left Australia 84 years ago for the bright lights of Chicago.

Now the people at Chicago's famous Shedd Aquarium say he has left the planet as well.

In news that has gone around the world, Reuters reports "Granddad,” as he was named, was the longest-living fish in a zoological setting in the world.

That story made the front page of China Daily, the largest circulating English language newspaper in China and a copy was emailed to The Gympie Times.

The paper reported that Granddad came from Australia in 1933 for the Chicago World's Fair.

More than 104 million people have met Granddad at the aquarium, according to its president Bridget Coughlin.

"For a fish that spent much of his time imitating a fallen log, he sparked curiosity, excitement and wonder among guests of all ages who would hear his story and learn about the incredible biology that makes his species a living fossil and one of the oldest living vertebrate genera on the planet,” she said.

Granddad was at least 90, not unusual as individuals of his species often live to be more than 100.

They are a protected species and were so even in Aboriginal times, according to Mary Valley traditional resident Eve Fesl, who says they were a totem animal for her people.

"Granddad was euthanised after suffering failing health well into his mid-90s,” according to a Shedd Aquarium news release.

Granddad's death followed a long period when he appeared to have lost interest in food and was showing signs of organ failure.

News organisations around the world reported that "lungfish are native to the Mary and Burnett rivers in Queensland, Australia” and that they "have a single primitive lung and are among the few fish that can breathe air.”

The aquarium says he was one of two lungfishes "acquired from the Taronga Zoo and Aquarium in Sydney and had died on Sunday after suffering "a rapid decline in quality of life associated with old age.”