The Santa Barbara Zoo announced the passing of 47-year-old Asian elephant ‘Sujatha’ Wednesday morning.
According to zoo officials, Sujatha was humanely euthanized in the upper yard of her exhibit Tuesday night due to health conditions associated with her old age. Immediately following, the zoo’s other Asian elephant, Little Mac, was given access to Sujatha to grieve her companion of 46 years.
“Sujatha and Little Mac have been ambassadors for Asian elephants in Santa Barbara for 46 years,” said Zoo CEO Rich Block. “Children who first met them in the 1970s have brought their own children, and some even their grandchildren, to meet these wonderful creatures. They have been loved and cared for by numerous keepers and staff over the years. We are grateful to Sujatha and Little Mac for how they enriched all our lives.”
Elephants are considered geriatric at age 40 and their average life span is 46.9 years. Sujatha had been experiencing pain associated with arthritis. She was treated for three years with stem cells, laser, hydrotherapy, physical therapy, and pain medication. But in the past two weeks, Sujatha’s health quickly declined and refused to eat over the weekend, zoo officials said.
Sujatha arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in July of 1972 when she was 1 and 1/2 years old.
The public can make a gift in Sujatha’s memory either to the International Elephant Foundation or the Zoo’s “Greens and Trimmings” fund. Information is available here https://www.sbzoo.org/sujatha.
More information to come.