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R.I.P. Patsy


TRIBE Promoter
So many childhood memories...

Patsy, famous Toronto Zoo elephant, dies
Jul. 25, 2006. 03:11 PM

Patsy, the matriarch of the Toronto Zoo's elephant herd for 33 years, has died at the age of 40.

Forty is fairly old for an elephant, Zoo CEO Calvin White said this afternoon, but it wasn't old age that killed her.

Zoo staff said she was put to sleep Monday night after a period of failing health due to long-term degenerative arthritis, likely caused by an earlier injury.

"She was in constant pain," White said in an interview. "She was still on exhibit as of last night, but you could tell she was hurting. She walked very slow, she would lean against the wall and lean her tusks against the post. She was under a lot of pressure."

After several examinations determined that there was no chance of further treatment or recovery, she was euthanized.

Patsy didn't die alone. Zoo staff made sure that the remaining elephants, Thika, Toka, Iringa, Tara, Tequila, and Tessa, spent the night with Patsy following her death.

"They came over and touched her with their trunks. They were mourning for her," White said.

Zoo staff explained that elephants have a close social network and, like people, need to go through a mourning process.

Patsy, seen by tens of thousands of zoo visitors over the years, was "a big girl," at about 8,500 pounds.

As the matriarch, she maintained control over the zoo's elephant herd since she arrived in 1974 from the wilds of Mozambique, where she was born.

"If there was a scuffle, she would be the one to break it up," the CEO said.

"All the staff who worked with Patsy are deeply saddened by her loss and have wonderful memories of her time with us," Duncan Bourne, animal care supervisor of the zoo's African Savanna section, said in a statement.

Patsy passed away surrounded by the keepers who cared for her.

"Patsy had a presence about her," said Eric Cole, senior elephant keeper. "She was an unusual animal, imposing and unique. Both the staff and the other six elephants will miss her hugely.”

Cole said that in her later years, the elephant had a calm disposition toward people. If you rubbed her face, she would give a friendly rumble.

The closest she came to aggression was if a keeper gave her water that wasn't warm enough. Using her trunk, she would throw her shower water back, Cole noted.

Over the years, Patsy witnessed the birth of four elephant calves, but never gave birth herself.

She is the first elephant to die at the Toronto zoo since the male Tantor died in 1989 after suffering a trunk infection.

Patsy's death leaves the zoo with six females, all of whom are getting on in years.

They range from 26 to 37 years in age.

White, the zoo's CEO, said Patsy's death and the growing age of the other elephants will force the zoo to examine its elephant exhibit over the next few years to see what direction it will take.

The current elephant population won't likely live past another 10 years. White said.

Patsy will undergo an autopsy and her remains will be buried at a private site at the zoo.
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TRIBE Member
sometimes i just sit and think back on its last night New Years and have fond thoughts.

then i think of househeadsacha and i get angry.
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TRIBE Member
did you hit up Sander in November?

sometimes i just sit and think back fondly..

(then i think of househeadsacha and i get angry)


TRIBE Member
awe this is so sad. I <3 elephants.

giant gentle creatures - I hope they take over the world. It's gotta be possible, like, how big is an elephants brain?

RIP Patsy :(
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