Posted on 26th February 2019 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is mourning the loss of elderly female Asian Elephant, Gigi.
At 62 years of age, Gigi was one of Australia’s oldest elephants, arriving at Taronga Western Plains Zoo over 10 years ago following her retirement from the circus.
Gigi had recently been in palliative care after being managed for several years with a number of age related illnesses, including chronic degenerative joint disease, a common age related illness in elephants. Her condition was closely monitored throughout this time by the Zoo’s veterinary and keeping teams with provision of treatment and supportive medications.
Recently her health deteriorated and she stopped responding to these treatments. Despite every effort to provide her with relief and care, Gigi’s health declined significantly, and it was apparent she was in increased pain and discomfort.
The heartbreaking decision was made to end her pain and suffering by putting her to sleep.
Gigi was part of the Zoo’s special care program for aged elephants to ensure quality of life in her twilight years.
“The Zoo’s veterinary team along with Zoo keepers had been monitoring and responding to Gigi’s health for some time due to her advanced age,” said Director, Steve Hinks.
This included a regular mobility-monitoring schedule, which recorded her ease of movement and mobility daily.
Gigi’s elderly companion Burma, 64, was very supportive towards Gigi during her final days and will be given time to grieve Gigi’s loss. Burma is now the only aged elephant at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and keepers are closely monitoring her well-being and providing her with opportunity to socialise with the Zoo’s other elephants through fence contact as she deals with her loss.
“Unfortunately this is part of the cycle of life and comes with the responsibility of caring for wildlife,” Steve said.
“It’s a very trying and sad time for everyone, particularly those who worked closely with Gigi. She was part of our zoo family and to lose her is absolutely heart breaking for our team,” said Steve.
Gigi arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in January 2008 from Stardust Circus. She was a popular animal amongst staff and guests alike. She loved people and she was always mischievous, keeping her keepers on their toes. She will be sadly missed.