Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s African elephant Yum Yum was euthanased on Sunday following to a “profound and untreatable paralysis of the bowel”, early post-mortem results have shown.
An official statement from the zoo reported the 41-year-old elephant was “in an incredible amount of pain” last week, and was put to sleep as a consequence.
Yum Yum, a treasured member of the zoo community, first came to the zoo when it opened in 1977.
Because of her age, zoo veterinarians concluded she would not recover from a prolonged illness.
“Staff at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are deeply saddened by the passing of Yum Yum,” general manager Matt Fuller said.
And so too are the other elephants.
Her closest companion Cuddles is still mourning to the loss of her friend, but has been spending time with keepers and another three female Asian elephants, who live in an adjacent enclosure.
Cuddles is the last of three African elephants who came to Australia from the United Kingdom, and the only remaining African elephant in Dubbo.
Cheri, another one of Yum Yum and Cuddles’ companions, died suddenly in 2007 from a “gut-related illness”.
Though African elephants can live to about 70 years old, they have been known to have trouble coping with illness as they age.
In the months prior to Yum Yum’s sudden health decline, she was generally a happy and well-adjusted part of the zoo family.
On occasion, she would enjoy swimming in the zoo pool, or covering herself in mud to cool down in the summer months.
Yum Yum was buried earlier in the week and no plans have been made yet for a ceremony or memorial.