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Jul 19, 2012 5:01 PM

Former Reid Park Zoo elephant 'Connie' dies in San Diego

TUCSON - Connie, the 45-year-old Asian elephant who resided at the Reid Park Zoo until earlier this year, died this morning at the San Diego Zoo's Elephant Care Center.

Connie and her long-time companion Shaba were transferred to the San Diego Zoo's Elephant Care Center in February, specifically to manage health concerns related to Connie's recurrent urinary and reproductive tract infections, zoo officials state in a news release.

Over the last two weeks, Connie's condition continued to deteriorate and affect her quality of life, the release states. This morning, animal care staff made the difficult decision to euthanize her, when it became apparent that she would be unable to sustain herself.

"We know that the nature of this Center means that animal care staff will be working very closely with these interesting animals in the last years of their lives, giving them a high quality of life until it is time to say good-bye," San Diego Zoo officials state in the release. "This is not an easy role, and we ask that you take a moment to share your appreciation for the efforts of the veterinarians and keepers who have taken on this task."

"Reid Park Zoo staff appreciates the extraordinary efforts made by the team at San Diego and their obvious affection and concern for both Connie and Shaba," the release states. "Results of the necropsy are pending."

Tucson Mayor Rothschild also released the following statement:

"I was saddened to learn of Connie's passing today, both for Connie and for Shaba, her companion," said Mayor Rothschild. "I am confident that Connie received the best of care at San Diego's geriatric elephant facility. We knew this day would come. Connie was elderly, and that was why this facility was chosen. It is sad that it has come so soon."

Image courtesy sandiegozoo.org

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