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3rd oldest elephant in North America celebrates birthday in Tennessee

Shirley celebrated her 72nd birthday at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
Shirley turned 72.
Shirley turned 72.(WTVF/Elephant Sanctuary)
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:15 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - North America’s third oldest elephant celebrated her birthday at a sanctuary outside of Nashville.

Nashville CBS affiliate WTVF reported that Shirley, an Asian elephant, celebrated turning 72 and spending 21 years at the Elephant Sanctuary located in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

The sanctuary said Shirley has lived well beyond the typical lifespan of a captive Asian elephant. She’s the oldest elephant at the sanctuary.

WTVF reported that Shirley was born in Sumatra in 1948 and was captured from the wild and sold to a circus, where she performed for more than 20 years.

Her caretakers surprised her with a strawberry-topped vegan cake, watermelon wedges, rice paper balloons and banana leaves. They also made her a birthday banner with natural tempera paint and gave her hay bales and bamboo.

WTVF reported that Shirley devoured the cake in one bite. You can see her birthday celebration here.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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