48-Year-Old Elephant Euthanized at San Diego Zoo

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Tembo the elephant is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: San Diego Zoo)

Tembo the elephant is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: San Diego Zoo)

Tembo, a 48-year-old elephant, was euthanized at the San Diego Zoo after a sudden change in her health following longtime treatment for age-related ailments, the zoo announced Monday.

The female African bush elephant died Sunday.

“She had been under veterinary care, including stem cell therapy to alleviate age-related ailments over a long period of time,” the zoo tweeted.

“On Saturday, animal care staff noted a sudden change in Tembo’s condition, including behaviors that indicated severe discomfort,” the zoo tweeted. “After evaluating quality of life options, staff made the difficult decision to compassionately euthanize her.”

Tembo had lived at the zoo since 1983. Before that she was privately owned and had been an animal actor, the zoo said.

The elephant appeared in the 1974 television series “Born Free.”

Tembo was one of four elephants at the zoo. The others are an African bush elephant named Shaba and two Asian elephants, Mary and Devi.

African bush elephants can live 60 to 70 years in the wild.

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