Australia is mourning the loss of its last African elephant in captivity on Wednesday, with the death of “Cuddles”, a 46-year old elephant at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Cuddles arrived in Australia from Britain in 1977 and was present when the zoo was opened, passing away on Wednesday morning, much to the dismay of everyone who met her.
“We are all mourning the loss of this beautiful animal, who was much loved by staff, volunteers, and visitors alike.” the zoo said.
The almost ancient elephant had been suffering from a number of health conditions, with the “heartbreaking” call made to euthanise her.
“She will be greatly missed and her passing represents the end of an era for African elephants in Australia” the zoo management said.
“She loved being the centre of attention and interacting with zoo keepers and had even perfected the art of getting extra treats like banana and lucerne.”