Belfast Telegraph

Elderly elephant dies at city zoo

One of the oldest elephants in captivity in Europe has died aged 53.

Jenny had an aggressive cancer which led to a heart attack after four years at Belfast Zoo.

The Asian mammal was also being treated for an injury to her foot sustained during her time in an Italian circus.

Zoo curator Alyn Cairns said: "Jenny's death is a huge loss to the zoo's Asian elephant herd but she will also be greatly missed by the keepers who have worked with her every day for the last four years."

A number of years ago the zoo became a sanctuary and retirement home for a herd of elderly non-breeding females. Jenny was the oldest elephant in Belfast, born in 1960.

Mr Cairns said: "We were aware of the responsibilities that came with caring for these older elephants and although we are all deeply saddened by her death, we are delighted that we were able to see her enjoy her last few years at the zoo."

Zoo vet Michael Griffith said Jenny once lived in an Italian circus and stood on a tent pole, damaging one of her feet. She also had a cancer which affected her organs and blood vessels, leading to a heart attack and her death on Friday.

Mr Cairns said: "The bonds between an elephant herd are extremely strong and we therefore made the decision to close the elephant and giraffe walk on Friday to give Yhetto, Dhunja and Tina a chance to grieve."

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