ORLANDO, Fla., March 3 (UPI) — Central Florida Zoo officials said the third-oldest Asian zoo elephant on record has died at 63.
The elephant, named Mary, died Tuesday night, WKMG-TV, Orlando, Fla., reported Wednesday.
“This is a very sad occurrence. A necropsy is being conducted to determine the specific cause of death,” Bonnie Breitbeil, Director of Animal Collections, said. “Staff is deeply saddened as we feel we have lost a very dear friend. Additionally, elephants, just like people, go through a mourning process.”
Mary was the matriarch of her group since coming to the Central Florida Zoo in 1983. She was born at the Nehru Zoological Park in India in 1946, came to America in 1952 to the Polack Bros. Circus and retired to the Dallas Zoo in 1956 before her final move to Florida, WKMG-TV said.
The Central Florida Zoo is accepting donations in the elephant’s memory, to be sent to the Elephant Conservation Program to help endangered elephants in the wild.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.