San Diego Zoo euthanizes 50-year-old elephant - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Zoo euthanizes 50-year-old elephant

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The life expectancy for Asian elephants in captivity is about 42 years. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File) The life expectancy for Asian elephants in captivity is about 42 years. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego Zoo staff Tuesday euthanized an ailing elderly male elephant suffering from a variety of age-related medical issues, park officials said.

Ranchipur was 50 years old, reportedly the fourth oldest male pachyderm in the Western Hemisphere.

"Our staff noticed he was not doing too well this morning," said zoo spokesman Andrew James. "They evaluated him and came to the decision to euthanize him."

A statement from the zoo said he appeared to be having medical difficulties and was weakened. He was unresponsive when treated.

A portion of the Elephant Odyssey exhibit was closed so a necropsy could be performed, James said. The elephant had been under veterinary care for a variety of ailments related to old age.

He said staff will also remove Ranchipur's tusks and dispose of them in a way that will keep them off the black market.

Asian elephants are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Ranchipur lived at the zoo's Safari Park, then known as the Wild Animal Park, from 1981 to 2009. He was subsequently moved to the zoo when Elephant Odyssey opened.

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