A 45-year-old elephant with arthritic legs died at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo because it went down and couldn’t get up.
The zoo said Tuesday the necropsy on Watoto found chronic, age-related arthritis in the leg joints. The female African elephant that died in August had no life-threatening problems with its heart or infectious diseases such as the herpes virus.
The zoo’s director of animal health, Darin Collins, says the elephant either fell or laid down and was unable to stand back up. When lying down, the elephant’s weight restricts breathing and blood flow to vital organs.