Santa Barbara Zoo’s elderly elephant Little Mac euthanized
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Santa Barbara Zoo’s 48-year-old Asian elephant, Little Mac, has been euthanized after a sharp decline in her health.
The zoo says Little Mac was euthanized Wednesday night in her exhibit yard, surrounded by keepers and staff.
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Last night we said goodbye to our 48-year-old elephant, Little Mac. After announcing she was on hospice care earlier this week, the decision was made to humanely euthanize her yesterday evening. As a geriatric elephant, Little Mac had been dealing with age-related issues for years; however, her condition deteriorated dramatically in the last few weeks. The Zoo team worked tirelessly with outside vets and experts to treat her condition, but Little Mac's health declined beyond the help of any medical treatments. Starting in January, a behavioral study was conducted to observe Little Mac's behavior after the passing of her companion, Sujatha. This study provided ample amounts of data that Little Mac was thriving in her environment, even on her own. With this data, our animal experts believe her declining health to be directly associated with her old age – medical issues that she would have been facing in any respect. Little Mac and Sujatha had been a part of the Santa Barbara community for almost 50 years. They've been important ambassadors for their wild counterparts, providing invaluable education, connection, and joy to every person who met them. Thank you to our community of friends and family who have provided our team with love, kind words, and fond memories. Mac and Suzi will never be forgotten.
Little Mac came to the zoo from India in 1972 with another female Asian elephant, Sujatha, who was euthanized last year.
Little Mac was named by Herb Peterson, the owner of several local McDonald’s restaurants who paid for the airline flight. At the time she was a 1½-year-old, 4-foot-tall apparent orphan.
The zoo says her decline began in June with the onset of new medical issues in addition to other problems common in geriatric elephants.
Her death marks the end of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s elephant program.