Shirley, second oldest elephant in the U.S., dies at 72-years-old

The second oldest elephant in the U.S., passed away Monday.
Shirley by The Sanctuary's 25-acre lake
Shirley by The Sanctuary's 25-acre lake(The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee)
Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 10:35 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Shirley, the second oldest elephant in the U.S., passed away Monday, Feb. 22 at 72-years-old.

According to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Shirley an Asian elephant passed away Monday morning.

“Shirley defied all odds as one of the oldest elephants in captivity and lived well beyond the life expectancy for a captive elephant. Shirley was The Sanctuary’s oldest elephant and, at the time of her passing, held the record for the second oldest elephant in North America,” said the sanctuary in a Facebook post.

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Asian elephant, Shirley, at age 72....

Posted by The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The sanctuary says their teams have been closely monitoring Shirley over the past several weeks as they observed gradual changes in her mobility and mentation.

According to the sanctuary, Shirley passed away peacefully in the early hours of Monday morning surrounded by her loving Caregivers.

“The Sanctuary is deeply honored to have provided care for Shirley for 21 years. We thank Shirley’s many supporters, fans, and friends who have shared her story, who have loved her from afar, and who have partnered with us through the years to provide lifetime care and the opportunity for Shirley to know true companionship with other elephants,” said Janice Zeitlin, CEO. “We learned so much about the dignity and grace of elephants aging in captivity through caring for Shirley, and we will continue to apply this knowledge to help care for all current and future residents. Shirley leaves an enduring legacy marked by a truly remarkable life, and she will be deeply missed by all.”

The sanctuary has set up a memorial page to tell Shirley’s incredible life-story and allow those to leave their tributes.

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