Zoo: Beloved African elephant Penny euthanized after fall

Zoo: Beloved African elephant Penny euthanized after fall

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Riverbanks Zoo and Garden officials said one of their beloved African elephants had to be euthanized on Thursday.

The zoo says 37-year-old Penny was humanely euthanized on Thursday after she fell on exhibit and was unable to stand.

"Penny is loved dearly, and she will be deeply missed especially by our devoted animal care staff," Satch Krantz, president, and CEO of Riverbanks Zoo and Garden said. "As one of our animal ambassadors for wildlife conservation, Penny helped to educate nearly 16-million guests since arriving at the Zoo more than 15 years ago."

Zoo officials now awaiting the results of a necropsy, and final results usually take six to eight weeks.

The largest of the land mammals, there are approximately 470,000 to 690,000 African elephants in the wild, according to the zoo's website. The African elephant is classified as "Vulnerable" but the IUCN and poaching are the animal's biggest threat.

Penny arrived at Riverbanks in December of 2001 as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) African Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP). The zoo is home to two other female African elephants: Robin is 47 years old and Belle is 35.5 years old.

The Median Life Expectancy of female African elephants in AZA managed populations is 38.4 years. There are nearly 400 elephants in zoos, circuses, and private facilities in North America, the website says.

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