Elephant, part of Zoo Miami’s Golden Girls, dies at 44

Zoo Miami announced the death of Lisa, the zoo s 44-year-old elephant. Zoo Miami photo

MIAMI (AP) – One of four older elephants brought to Zoo Miami to live out their “retirement years” has died.

Zoo spokesman Ron Magill tells local news outlets that Lisa, a 44-year-old African elephant, died Tuesday after lying down in her barn.

She was part of the “Golden Girls,” named after the 1980s television sitcom starring Betty White, Beatrice Arthur, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty.

Lisa and another elephant named Cita came to Zoo Miami from the Virginia Zoo in April 2016.

They joined two of the zoo’s other aging elephants, Mabel and Peggy.

Last month, Magill says Lisa was found lying down and wouldn’t get up.

Tests didn’t show any areas of concern and her condition started improving.

The cause of death won’t be known until a necropsy and other tests are completed.

Zoo Miami posted the following on its Facebook page about Lisa’s death:

“It is with great sadness that we report that Lisa, a 44-year-old female African elephant, died this afternoon shortly after lying down on her side in the elephant barn. She will undergo an extensive necropsy that will include a variety of tests to help determine the cause of death. The results of those tests will not be known for several weeks.

Though there are no obvious causes of death at thistime, Lisa has been under very close observation since July 12th when she was found lying down in the barn and needed assistance from zoo staff to get back on her feet. Since that time she had begun to resume most normal activity, as well as regain her appetite, though staff was reluctant to say she had fully recovered.

Lisa and another female named Cita arrived at Zoo Miami on April 19, 2016 from the Virgina Zoo. They joined our resident African elephants, Peggy and Mabel, on the African exhibit and were affectionately called “The Golden Girls” because of their advanced age (over 40) and the fact that Zoo Miami was where they would spend their retirement.

This is a very difficult time for the Zoo Miami family, as well as the staff and volunteers at the Virgina Zoo where Lisa had lived for nearly 40 years. In a statement released by the Virgina Zoo, it was said, “Our friends at Zoo Miami have provided exceptional care and management for Lisa in her later years. We find comfort in knowing that Cita still has familiar faces and companionship with her keepers and the other 2 elephants, Peggy and Mabel. This is a great loss to our community and we thank our staff and Zoo Miami staff who played a part in Lisa’s health and welfare. She undoubtably had a tremendous impact on visitors to the Virginia Zoo, as well. Her contribution to the community’s conservation knowledge and appreciation for this amazing species will be cherished.”

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