Mary, the Little Rock Zoo’s 60-year-old elephant, died today. She was euthanized because of a sharp decline in her condition.
The Zoo had announced recently that she had untreatable cancer. Zoo spokesperson Susan Altrui said Mary was still on her feet at the time of her death, but had become lethargic, with her head lowered, her trunk hanging limp, and no interest in going outside.
Zoo employees are spending extra time with Ellen, the zoo’s other elephant, to console her after loss of her companion. Altrui said an intensive search is underway for another elephant.
Elephants are smart, and particularly prone to grief — including cases where elephants have stopped eating and starved themselves to death in zoos when their companion died. Here’s a video of African elephants grieving over their dead.