Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Baker County Library's Aquatic Mascot Dies

By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Oscar, the fish that entertained countless children at the Baker County Public Library, died Oct. 2.

He was a Flowerhorn cichlid, and unique in that he seemed to interact with the children standing near the aquarium.

At 9 years old, Oscar had outlived the typical lifespan of this species, which is 3 to 5 years, said Melissa Shafer.

"I took him home and buried him in the flower garden, so he could continue to bring joy and beauty as a flower. He was a FLOWERhorn after all," she said.

Oscar was first Shafer's fish, but she brought him to the library "because he was all alone at the house and kept chasing his reflection in the glass."

She said Flowerhorn cichlids are interactive and social fish - but also aggressive and dominate, which is why he was so interested in the people who peered at him.

"When people - mostly kids because they were at his level - approached the tank Oscar made sure to tell them thathewas in charge," Shafer said.

She is planning a New Orleans-style memorial for Wednesday, Oct. 9, after storytime (about 11 a.m.)

"We will have a small parade through the library with noisemakers and flags to celebrate his life and passing," she said.

The library would like to buy a new baby Flowerhorn cichlid and otherfreshwater invertebrates (snails, shrimp, lobster).

Donations in memory of Oscar will be used to purchase the new fish and other additions to the tank.