The mysterious death of an African elephant on Tuesday, at Zoo Miami continues to puzzle the entire staff. Since July 12, when zookeepers found 44-year-old Lisa lying on her side in the Elephant Barn, the elephant had been under close observation and supervision. Although Lisa had been considered elderly for an elephant in captivity, her death was a shock. Statistically the species does better in the wild and average 50 to 60 years in native habitats.
Lisa was born in the wild and is considered a species vulnerable to extinction; she had been one of four older elephants brought to Zoo Miami last year to live out their retirements. According to WtkrNews, Lisa, along with 49-year-old African elephant Cita, were some of Northfolk, Virginia Zoo’s most famous residents. They joined the other two aged elephants – Mabel and Peggy. Lisa had lived at the Virginia zoo for more than 40 years.
Multiple health tests didn’t show any illness, and after her health “episode,” she had been standing and eating. Elephants normally sleep standing up. Affectionately known as the “Golden Girls” after the popular television sitcom featuring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty, Lisa’s death has greatly impacted the staff.
“For all of us it’s a tremendous loss,” Ron Magill, zoo spokesperson stated, who added that staff tried to help the 8,400 elephant back onto her feet before she died. “It’s like losin a member of the family.
A necropsy will be performed to determine her cause of death.
Rest in peace Lisa. We still think wild animals should be left “wild.”
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(Photo of African elephant Lisa via the Virginia Zoo)
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