One of Australia’s oldest elephants has died at Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo, aged 62.
The elderly Asian female elephant arrived at the zoo more than 10 years ago from Stardust Circus.
The zoo made the announcement on Tuesday, saying the “popular animal among staff and guests alike” would be sadly missed.
Gigi had recently been in palliative care after being managed for several years with a number of age-related illnesses, the zoo reported.
Despite every effort to provide her with relief and care, Gigi’s health declined significantly, and it was apparent she was in increased pain and discomfort.
The decision was made to end her pain and she was euthanised, the zoo reported.
Gigi was part of the zoo’s special care program for aged elephants to ensure quality of life in her twilight years.
“The zoo’s veterinary team along with zookeepers had been monitoring and responding to Gigi’s health for some time due to her advanced age,” director Steve Hinks said.
Gigi arrived at the zoo in January 2008 with Stardust Circus companion Arna.
Gigi’s elderly companion Burma, 64, was supportive towards her companion during her final days and will be given time to grieve the loss, the zoo reported.
Burma is now the only aged elephant at the zoo, and keepers are closely monitoring her well-being and providing her with opportunity to socialise with the zoo’s other elephants through fence contact as she deals with her loss.
“Unfortunately this is part of the cycle of life and comes with the responsibility of caring for wildlife,” Mr Hinks said.
“It’s a very trying and sad time for everyone, particularly those who worked closely with Gigi.
“She was part of our zoo family and to lose her is absolutely heartbreaking for our team.”
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