2016-12-30 / News

Zoo saddened by death of beloved African elephant

Contributed by Riverbanks Zoo and Garden

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is saddened to announce the death of one of its female African elephants.

The zoo's veterinary staff made the difficult decision to euthanize 44- year-old Petunia on Saturday, December 17 because of deteriorating health. When staff arrived Saturday morning she was found unable to stand.

“Euthanasia was necessary because of her sudden decline in health,” said Martha Weber, senior veterinarian at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. “Petunia lived a long life as a result of the incredible care she received over the course of her life.”

The median life expectancy of female African elephants in AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) managed populations is 38.4 years. Riverbanks also is home to three other geriatric females. Robin is 47- years- old, Penny is 37- years- old, and Belle is 35.5-years-old.

Petunia came to Riverbanks from Disney's Animal Kingdom, along with Robin, in 2007. Petunia also lived for a short while at Toledo Zoo in Ohio and for a period of time at Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee.

Riverbanks is now awaiting the results of a necropsy. The final results usually take six to eight weeks.

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