Eldest African elephant dies at Oakland zoo

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Eldest African elephant dies at Oakland zoo

PHOTO BY TODD DAILEY/FLIKR

PHOTO BY TODD DAILEY/FLIKR

PHOTO BY TODD DAILEY/FLIKR

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By Dan McMenamn, BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE
The eldest member of the Oakland Zoo’s African elephant herd died at the zoo Tuesday, according to the zoo.
M’Dunda, a female elephant that had just turned 50 years old in September, was found collapsed on the ground when zookeepers went to the 6.5-acre elephant habitat at the zoo around 2:45 p.m.
They cleared the other elephants from the area but quickly determined M’Dunda was already dead.
The animal came to Oakland in 1993 from the San Diego Zoo and was the third-oldest African elephant in a zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The average median lifespan of African elephants in captivity is 17 years, according to the zoo.
M’Dunda was transported Tuesday evening to the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.
According to the Oakland Zoo, elephants there receive daily examinations and treatments by zookeepers, as well as bi-weekly thorough exams by veterinarians, and no recent tests of M’Dunda showed any worrisome medical issues.
“M’Dunda has been part of our Oakland Zoo family for 26 years. She was such a gentle being, and closely bonded with her keepers. We’ll miss her greatly,” Joel Parrott, president and CEO of the zoo, said in a statement.