Brookfield Zoo Euthanizes 29-Year-Old Elephant

Christy's condition had deteriorated due to kidney failure, officials say

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Dec 22, 2009  |  Updated 6:49 PM CDT
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Brookfield Zoo Euthanizes 29-Year-Old Elephant

Chicago Zoological Society

One of the Brookfield Zoo's elephants, a 29-year-old pachyderm who arrived at the zoo in 1984, has died.

Christy was euthanized Tuesday as a result of kidney failure, the Chicago Zoological Society said in a release. 

A necropsy showed that Christy's right kidney was roughly one-tenth the size of a normal kidney, as well as an enlarged left ureter, the duct that carries urine from a kidney to the bladder.

Many veterinarians said it was surprising that Christy lived so long with the condition.

"Christy’s keepers and the other staff at Brookfield Zoo are devastated by the loss of this charismatic animal, however, they are comforted by the knowledge that CZS did everything in its power to help Christy, including allowing her a peaceful end to her life," said Carol Sodaro, associate curator of mammals for CZS. "She will be greatly missed by those who cared for her on a daily basis as well as the zoo guests who came to visit her."

Christy was one of two African elephants at the zoo.  Being very social creatures, the zoo in August brought in another elephant, Joyce, from a zoo in Vallejo, Calif., after Christy's first companion, Affie, died in May.

Affie lived at the zoo for 30 years and, at nearly 40, was the fifth oldest African elephant in an accredited North American zoo.

Also Tuesday, Shedd Aquarium lost one of the two beluga whale calves that were born in the last week.

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