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Elephant Deaths at Facilities Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

The lives of elephants in zoos typically are far shorter than their 70-year life expectancy. More than half of the 76 elephants who have died at AZA-accredited facilities since 2000 never even reached the age of 40.

Following is a list of elephants who have died at AZA-accredited zoos from 2000 to the present (excluding newborns and infants under the age of 2).

FacilityDate of DeathElephantSpeciesCause of Death/AilmentsAge
Denver ZooSeptember 3, 2016DollyAsianEuthanized after decline in health from symptoms including foot issues, arthritis, and decreased appetite.52
San Diego ZooAugust 23, 2016RanchipurAsianEuthanized after decline in health.50 years
San Diego ZooApril 13, 2016SumithiAsianEuthanized after decline in health.49 years
Oklahoma City ZooJanuary 30, 2016ChaiAsianFound dead in enclosure. The necropsy revealed death by emaciation and endotoxic shock from bacterial infection.37 years
Dickerson Park ZooJanuary 17, 2016Khun Chorn (aka “Mr. Ed”)AsianEuthanized after he was found lying down and unable to stand up  for more than 24 hours. The necropsy found that he had moderate arthritis in most of his joints, and infected lymph nodes. He was also being treated for foot and nail lesions prior to his death.37 years
Oregon ZooDecember 21, 2015TuskoAsianEuthanized due to decades old foot injury causing mobility issues.45 years
Tulsa ZooNovember 15, 2015TovaAsianEuthanized after rapid decline in health due to large bladder stone.43 years
Oklahoma City ZooOctober 1, 2015MaleeAsianEndotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV)4 years
Hogle ZooAugust 8, 2015DariAfricanEuthanized after she was found on the ground and unable to stand.55 years
Dallas ZooMay 13, 2015MamaAfricanDied after months of declining health.45 years
Albuquerque BioParkMay 9, 2015DaizyAsianEndotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV)5 years
Oregon ZooMarch 30, 2015RamaAsianEuthanized due to decades old leg injury that limited his mobility. Injury from falling in a moat in 1990.31 years
Caldwell ZooDecember 30, 2014BintiAfricanHeart disease.36 years
Sedgwick County ZooNovember 5, 2014CindaAfricanFound dead in enclosure. Cause of death later ruled to be heart disease.43 years
Denver ZooOctober 10, 2014KimboAsianEuthanized after she stopped eating and drinking. Bloodwork indicated renal failure.44 years
Woodland Park ZooAugust 22, 2014WatotoAfricanEuthanized after she was found collapsed on the ground.45 years
N.C. ZooJune 17th, 2014Little DiamondAfricanSuccumbed to an impacted large intestine from ingesting sand36 years
Greenville ZooJune 14th, 2014JoyAfricanUnknown44 years
Maryland ZooMarch 16, 2014DollyAfricanEuthanized due to declining health issues38 years
Greenville ZooMarch 4, 2014LadybirdAfricanEuthanized after she lay down and was too weak to get back up43 years
Zoo MiamiNovember 27, 2013MaudeAsianSevere constipation41 years
Dickerson Park ZooOctober 4, 2013ConnieAsianEuthanized after she lay down and was too weak to get back up49 years
Little Rock ZooSeptember 9, 2013JewelAsianEuthanized after she lay down and was too weak to get back up, later tested positive for TB62 years
BREC’s Baton Rouge ZooMarch 31, 2013JudyAsianFound dead in enclosure46 years
San Antonio ZooMarch 10, 2013BooAsianEuthanized because of lymphoma59 years
Denver ZooOctober 9, 2012MimiAsianEuthanized after she began having difficulty standing and lost the ability to move her trunk53 years
San Diego ZooJuly 19, 2012ConnieAsianEuthanized after irreversible decline in her health45 years
Cleveland Metroparks ZooJuly 16, 2012JoAfricanEuthanized after she lay down and was too weak to get back up42 years
Zoo MiamiJuly 3, 2012MachitoAfricanEuthanized after lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, and labored breathing31 years
The Dallas ZooApril 13, 2012StumpyAfricanUnknown age-related conditions47 years
Kansas City Zoo
January 24, 2012PenneyAfricanUndetermined, though she suffered from arthritis.51 years
San Diego ZooJanuary 4, 2012Cha ChaAsianEuthanized due to deteriorating health following emergency surgery to remove food blocking her esophagus.43 years
San Diego Zoo
December 25, 2011CookieAsianEuthanized due to apparent complications from severe arthritis despite being on pain medication.56 years
San Diego ZooNovember 17, 2011UmoyaAfricanFound dead with severe injuries believed to have been caused by another elephant.21 years
Caldwell ZooJuly 9, 2011ChicoAfricanFound unresponsive and later died.46 years
Little Rock ZooJuly 5, 2011EllenAsianFormerly from the Engesser Circus, zoo officials say she died of a heart attack or stroke.60 years
Little Rock ZooMay 5, 2011MaryAsianFormerly from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, she had terminal tumors.60 years
Virginia ZooApril 26, 2011MonicaAfricanEuthanized because of deteriorating health.38 years
Columbus ZooFebruary 16, 2011CocoAsianDied more than eight hours after being found lying down.40 years
Six Flags Discovery KingdomJanuary 18, 2011TajAsianFound standing unsteadily and breathing irregularly before lying down and dying.71 years
Henry Doorly ZooOctober 16, 2010MaliakaAfricanDied a few hours after being found on her side and unable to get back on her feet.47 years
Wildlife SafariOctober 6, 2010TikiAfricanUnknown. Her health had been declining for several months.40 years
Dickerson Park ZooAugust 4, 2010C.C.AsianHad recently been treated for problems, including liver damage and a spinal injury, caused by anti-tuberculocidal medications.61 years
Louisville ZooMay 12, 2010ScottyAfricanEuthanized because of complications from colic. Necropsy revealed cause of death was endotoxic shock, a common complication of colic.3 years
Central Florida ZooMarch 2, 2010MaryAsianAge-related illness.63 years
Brookfield ZooDecember 22, 2009ChristyAfricanEuthanized because of kidney failure.29 years
Nashville ZooDecember 17, 2009KibaAfricanEuthanized because of degenerative joint disease.26 years
Buffalo ZooSeptember 28, 2009BukiAsianDeclining health, loss of appetite, kidneys not functioning properly.52 years
Brookfield ZooMay 15, 2009AffieAfricanHeart failure.39 years
Disney’s Animal KingdomMarch 17, 2009TumpeAfricanDied after suffering from skin sores and gastrointestinal problems for two months.24 years
San Diego Wild Animal ParkFebruary 25, 2009SunitaAsianEuthanized because of deteriorating health.60 years
Houston ZooNovember 9, 2008MacAsianHerpes Virus2 years, 8 days
Zoo AtlantaOctober 27, 2008DottieAfricanAcute pneumonia during the third trimester of pregnancy.26 years
Hogle ZooSeptember 9, 2008MishaAfricanEuthanized because of deteriorating health.27 years
Montgomery ZooAugust 16, 2008MaryAfricanDied just days after giving birth from complications resulting from colic with intestinal rupture.23 years
Philadelphia ZooJune 9, 2008PetalAfricanAcute heart and lung failure after she fell on her side while sleeping. Arthritis in her hips, knees, and elbows.52 years
Dallas ZooMay 12, 2008KeKeAfricanEuthanized because of congestive heart failure.39 years
Fort Worth ZooJanuary 24, 2008BabeAsianDied while giving birth.40 years
San Antonio ZooNovember 2, 2007AlportAfricanDied just days after being diagnosed with a serious orthopedic tear. Was struggling to stand or walk.49 years
Abilene ZooAugust 13, 2007TanzyAfricanInability to adequately chew food led to a ruptured gastro-intestinal tract and toxic shock. Suffered from arthritis.49 years
Birmingham Zoo June 21, 2007MonaAsianEuthanized after she fell multiple times and was unable to get up.59 years
San Diego Wild Animal Park June 19, 2007CarolAsianEuthanized because of degenerative joint disease.39 years
Woodland Park Zoo June 8, 2007HansaAsianHerpes virus.6 years
Saint Louis Zoo March 14, 2007ClaraAsianEuthanized because of arthritis. The soles of her feet were so eroded that she had to wear sandals.54 years
Milwaukee County Zoo September 1, 2006LucyAfricanEuthanized after she fell multiple times and was unable to get up.46 years
Oregon ZooAugust 2, 2006PetAsianEuthanized because of severe arthritis and bone infection.51 years
Los Angeles Zoo June 10, 2006GitaAsianDied after collapsing in stall. Suffered from arthritis and foot problems, which resulted in the partial amputation of a toe.48 years
Knoxville Zoo March 10, 2006MamieAfricanEuthanized. Suffered from arthritis and foot problems for at least 15 years.45 years
Bronx ZooFebruary 2006Samuel R.AsianKidney failure.14 years
National ZooJanuary 25, 2006ToniAsianEuthanized because of chronic arthritis.40 years
Columbus Zoo August 23, 2005GaneshAsianHerpes virus.7 years
Disney’s Animal KingdomMay 14, 2005IbalaAfricanDied from severe infection following surgery to remove a dead fetus.26 years
Lincoln Park Zoo/Hogle ZooMay 1, 2005WankieAfricanCollapsed during transport to Hogle Zoo and was euthanized upon arrival.35 years
San Francisco ZooMarch 24, 2005TinkerbelleAsianLived at the San Francisco Zoo for 37 years. The zoo industry delayed her transfer to a sanctuary for nine months. When she finally arrived at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary, her degenerative joint disease and chronic foot problems were too severe for recovery, and she was euthanized 4 months later.39 years
Gladys Porter ZooMarch 10, 2005MachoAfricanNo information.41 years
Birmingham ZooJanuary 31, 2005SusieAsianNo information.53 years
Lincoln Park ZooJanuary 17, 2005PeachesAfricanEuthanized after collapsing in pen.55 years
Los Angeles ZooDecember 14, 2004TaraAfricanHeart failure after collapsing. Suffered from arthritis.44 years
Lincoln Park ZooOctober 16, 2004TatimaAfricanBacterial infection similar to tuberculosis.35 years
Houston ZooSeptember 6, 2004KimbaAsianHerpes virus.13 years
San Antonio ZooMay 4, 2004GinnyAsianEuthanized because of severe arthritis and infectious foot ailments.49 years
Busch GardensMay 2004KabaAsianNo information.35 years
San Francisco ZooApril 22, 2004MaybelleAfricanHeart failure after collapsing. Suffered from arthritis and joint disease.44 years
Hogle ZooMarch 9, 2004KaliAsianEuthanized after collapsing. Suffered from arthritis.59 years
San Francisco ZooMarch 7, 2004CalleAsianEuthanized after collapsing. Suffered from degenerative joint disease and a possible relapse of tuberculosis.37 years
Six Flags Marine World November 5, 2003TinaAsianEuthanized because of complications of osteomyelitis, severe degenerative joint disease, and chronic foot abscesses.46 years
Jackson ZooNovember 4, 2003MarrieAfricanEuthanized after a fall. Suffered from arthritis for 20 years.31 years
Kansas City Zoo November 3, 2003DaleAfricanEuthanized following illness because of suspected West Nile virus.25 years
Kansas City ZooSeptember 24, 2003CaseyAfricanSuffered for years with arthritis and foot infections.52 years
Brookfield Zoo June 17, 2003MameAfricanEuthanized after sustaining severe injuries during an encounter with another elephant.32 years
Indianapolis Zoo June 3, 2003AmaliAfricanDied two weeks after surgery for an abdominal blockage.3 years
Rosamond Gifford Zoo April 12, 2003PreyaAsianHerpes virus.3 years
Busch Gardens February 12, 2003SallyAsianNo information.36 years
Oregon ZooJanuary 20, 2003HugoAsianNo information.43 years
Dickerson Park ZooMay 22, 2002OnyxAsianMesenteric torsion with subsequent intestinal rupture.38 years
Bronx Zoo May 16, 2002TusAsianNo information.49 years
Bronx Zoo October 3, 2002GrumpyAsianNo information.31 years
Have Trunk Will TravelAugust 8, 2002AmosAsianTwisted intestines.3 years
Dickerson Park Zoo July 17, 2002HajiAsianHerpes virus.Almost 3 years
North Carolina ZooOctober 1, 2002NitaAfricanAcute infection.28 years
Point Defiance ZooNovember 19, 2002CindyAsianEuthanized when unable to stand. Had suffered crippling arthritis.40 years
River Banks ZooNovember 13, 2002BelindaAfricanNo information.33 years
Six Flags Marine World November 25, 2002TikaAfricanEuthanized because of abdominal infection caused by decomposing calf in womb.24 years
El Paso Zoo October 7, 2001MonaAsianNo information.47 years
Omaha’s Henry Doorly ZooSeptember 18, 2001PennyAfricanNo information.47 years
Denver ZooJune 7, 2001CandyAsianEuthanized. Was unable to stand after being pushed down by another elephant. Suffered from arthritis and degenerative joint disease.49 years
Oakland ZooMarch 11, 2001SmokeyAfricanChronic wasting disease.28 years
Hogle ZooMarch 5, 2001TokaAsianPossible cancer.37 years
Milwaukee ZooJanuary 16, 2001BabeAfricanDied after collapsing in stall.43 years
Six Flags Marine World November 29, 2000KalaAsianHerpes virus.2 years
National ZooAugust 22, 2000NancyAfricanEuthanized once she started refusing medication for bone infection in toe.46 years
Saint Louis ZooApril 11, 2000CarolynAsianFound dead in stall. Necropsy revealed severe pyelonephritis.32 years
Gladys Porter Zoo March 18, 2000LouellaAfricanNo information.21 years
Houston ZooJanuary 1, 2000SinggahAsianHerpes virus.6 years

Elephants breed poorly in captivity and experience high infant mortality. Following is a list of newborn and infant (under the age of 2) elephant deaths at AZA-accredited facilities from 2000 to the present.

FacilityDate of DeathElephantSpeciesCause of Death/AilmentsAge
Memphis ZooJuly 8, 2009UnnamedAfricanThe baby stumbled and fell. When the mother, Asali, tried to help the baby stand up, her tusk fatally injured the calf.2 days
Zoo AtlantaOctober 27, 2008UnnamedAfricanMother Dottie died during the third trimester of her pregnancy.
Montgomery ZooSeptember 14, 2008UnnamedAfricanUnknown5 weeks
San Diego Wild Animal Park February 4, 2008UnnamedAfricanEuthanized because of malnourishment and staph infection.9 weeks
Fort Worth Zoo January 24, 2008UnnamedAsianBabe’s calf died in utero during labor.Full-term calf
Dickerson Park Zoo December 1, 2007NishaAsianHerpes virus.1½ years
Rosamond Gifford Zoo June 8, 2006UnnamedAsianRomani’s calf died in utero.Full-term calf
Seneca Park Zoo February 7, 2006UnnamedAsianGenny C’s calf died in utero and was surgically removed.Full-term calf
Saint Louis Zoo November 19, 2005UnnamedAsianSri’s calf died in utero.Full-term calf
Rosamond Gifford Zoo August 4, 2005KedarAsianDied from complications after falling into a swimming pool.5 days
Disney’s Animal KingdomApril 23, 2005UnnamedAfricanIbala’s baby died in utero.Full-term calf
Houston Zoo April 15, 2005BellaAsianEuthanized after failed surgery to repair broken leg.8 months
Houston Zoo December 29, 2003UnnamedAsianMethai’s full-term calf died one day after birth.1 day
Fort Worth Zoo September 19, 2003UnnamedAsianBorn 6 months premature to Rasha. Euthanized two days after birth.2 days
Disney’s Animal Kingdom April 8, 2003UnnamedAfricanRobin’s calf died in utero.Full-term calf
Six Flags Marine World March 21, 2003UnnamedAfricanMisha gave birth to a stillborn calf.Full-term calf
Six Flags Marine World October 7, 2002UnnamedAfricanTika’s calf died in utero during labor.Full-term calf
Toledo Zoo July 27, 2002UnnamedAfricanRafiki gave birth to a stillborn calf.Full-term calf
Fort Worth Zoo March 2002UnnamedAsianBabe gave birth to a stillborn calf.Full-term calf
Kansas City Zoo September 16, 2001UnnamedAfricanLady’s calf died in utero.Full-term calf
Oakland Zoo September 9, 2001DohaniAfricanGored to death by her mother.10 days
Rosamond Gifford ZooMay 6, 2001UnnamedAsianTarga gave birth to a stillborn calf.Full-term calf
Dickerson Park ZooApril 12, 2000PeteAsianVicky’s calf died eight hours after birth.Full-term calf