Staff at Santa Barbara Zoo were compelled to make a difficult decision this week after the park’s elderly Asian elephant became incurably ill with no end in sight.
Image Credit: Santa Barbara Zoo via AP
48-year-old Little Mac, the unfortunate elephant in question, had been battling with ongoing health issues for several months. Sadly, recurring attempts to nurse her back to good health appeared to have no impact. Instead, Little Mac’s health only continued to decline, prompting the decision to euthanize her Wednesday evening.
“She faced chronic challenges with her teeth and arthritis in her legs, but her overall condition began declining in June due to the onset of additional medical problems,” explained Dr. Julie Barnes, Santa Barbara Zoo’s vice president of animal care and health.
Early last week, Little Mac’s dung purportedly exhibited evidence of internal bleeding. Veterinarians attempted to locate the source and administer treatment but were unsuccessful in doing so.
“She continued to decline in spite of our best efforts, especially in the past two weeks,” Barnes continued. “She would improve physically and behaviorally, we would be hopeful, but she never fully recovered.”
“We had exhausted the medical options available that would allow her to have a good quality of life. It was time to let her go,” Barnes concluded.
Santa Barbara Zoo was initially home to two Asian elephants: Little Mac and Sujatha. Both elephants were approximately the same age, however the latter was euthanized just last year for health complications related to old age.
The death of Santa Barbara Zoo’s second and last Asian elephant officially marks the end of the zoo’s elephant program, as there are presently no plans to replenish the park’s elephant attraction. The latest elephant management standards make Santa Barbara Zoo’s current exhibit insufficient for future additions to the park.
Santa Barbara Zoo is offering its condolences, in addition to many resources, for grieving park staff and visitors. There’s no question that Little Mac will be missed by a great deal of people.
Source: Santa Barbara Zoo