PAWS Says Goodbye to Wanda the Elephant
Wanda, a 57-year-old Asian elephant that made ARK 2000 in San Andreas her home for 10 years afte...
COURTESY OF PAWS
By The Record
Posted Feb. 12, 2015
SAN ANDREAS — Wanda, an Asian elephant that was a longtime resident of the Performing Animal Welfare Society's ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary, has died, the sanctuary announced Thursday.
The 57-year-old former circus and zoo elephant was euthanized Wednesday because of arthritis and foot disease, which are common among elephants kept in captivity. She was believed to be among the oldest Asian elephants in North America.
"She will be very much missed," PAWS president Ed Stewart said in a prepared news release. "I'm proud we were able to give her a more natural and enriched life at the PAWS sanctuary for nearly 10 years."
Wanda had been born in the wild in Asia around 1958 and was captured at a young age to be put on display in the United States. She moved at least seven times, including to Disneyland, a circus, zoos in Texas and the Detroit Zoo before coming to ARK 2000 when the Detroit Zoo disbanded its elephant exhibit because it could not provide adequately for the elephants. Detroit zoo keepers maintained an interest in Wanda throughout her stay at ARK 2000, and officials there thanked them for doing what was best for Wanda.
When she arrived at ARK 2000, Wanda discovered another Asian elephant, Gypsy, whom she had known before her zoo life. The two had performed in the same circus some 20 years before their reunion at ARK 2000. Over the past 10 years, they were often found close together in their expansive enclosure. Wanda enjoyed exploring her habitat, PAWS officials said, foraging, napping in soft grass on the hillside or under a tree, or swimming in the lake.
When Wanda was ehthanized, Gypsy stayed by her side for a period of time, gently touching her body and uttering soft rumbles before slowly walking away, according to a PAWS news release.
As happens with all animals from PAWS, U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital pathologists will perform a necropsy, and tissue samples will be sent to a laboratory.