Affie, one of the oldest African elephants in an American zoo, died Friday at Brookfield zoo.
"Affie was a special animal loved by guests and our staff. Because she was in her senior years, we knew that one day we would have to say good-bye, but it's still heartbreaking to lose such a charismatic animal. The keepers are devastated because this happened so suddenly,” said Kim Smith, CZS vice president of animal care. "It is some comfort to us to know that we were able to extend and improve her quality of life as she aged."
Though Affie, 40-years-old, appeared fine when a night zookeeper checked on her at 4 a.m., she was found lying on her side when her keepers arrived at 8 a.m.
Hours of efforts to get the 10,400-pound elephant back on her feet failed, and she died around 2 p.m., the zoo said.
An autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.
It's been a rough few months for the Brookfield Zoo.
A 15-year-old bottlenose dolphin, Kaylee, was euthanized last month after her quality of life had severely deteriorated, three years after being successfully treated for a life-threatening abscess in her lungs.
And Beta, one of the oldest western lowland gorillas in a North American zoo, died in January.