September 16, 2008

Elephant’s Life Ended With Euthanasia

A former trainer says that an elephant put to death last week in a Utah zoo "lost her will."

Misha was 27, young for an elephant, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday. African elephants often live into their 60s in the wild, although most elephants in zoos have considerably shorter lives.

The staff at the Hogle Zoo decided to end Misha's life after several weeks of health problems when they were unable to diagnose an illness or find a cure. A zoo spokeswoman said that Misha was healthy from her arrival at Hogle in April 2005 to last month, when she stopped eating and had trouble sleeping. She was losing weight and seemed to be in pain.

Barbara Anderson helped care for Misha in the 1990s at Marine World Africa USA, a California park.

"She lost her will," Anderson said.

Misha was captured in Africa as a baby and brought to Marine World, run by a non-profit foundation. When the foundation ran out of money, the park became a for-profit operation with an emphasis on often-noisy thrill rides.

Misha was transferred to Hogle after she attacked a keeper at what had become Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.