Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Louis Zoo Kills Oldest Elephant: Clara Euthanized After Suffering Severe Health Problems Caused By Life in Captivity

The deteriorating health of Clara and others at the St. Louis Zoo was written about by IDA at

The zoos lack of concern has been proven now, as they did nothing to attend to these issues and alleviate the suffering caused by life in captivity.

It is commonly held now that it was captivity that led to her death as she was forced to stand on concrete and hard surfaces. Over time, an animal this size will suffer from this type of treatment. Eventfully, her legs gave out and then poisoning occurred due to circulation issues. I’m sure she was in severe pain when it occurred.

For more on the health issues caused by putting large animals like elephants in zoos see


TEXT: Clara Euthanized

Zoo's Oldest Elephant Euthanized

ST. LOUIS, MO ( --

The oldest elephant at the St. Louis Zoo was put to sleep after midnight. Clara, 54, was the matriarch of the zoo's herd. She had been suffering from arthritis and foot problems. Clara is receiving a necropsy Wednesday, which is an autopsy for animals, and she will be buried at an undisclosed location. The zoo calls Clara's death "a sad part of the circle of life."

Zookeepers say she was humanely euthanized. Clara was 54 years old, which zookeepers say is pretty old for Asian elephants. The average life expectancy is 44 years, either in zoos or in the wild.

Clara had arthritis and her painkillers were no longer working.

Clara was born in Thailand and brought to St. Louis in 1955 with seven other elephants to perform in the elephant show, which has since been phased out. In five decades at the zoo, Clara danced in elephant shows and also was there for the construction of two elephant facilities.

Clara was a "great aunt" to Raja, the first Asian elephant born at the zoo in 1992. Clara was also there for the birth of Mahlia, who was born seven months ago, and Jade, who was born three weeks ago.

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