A 50-year-old matriarch of the Oakland Zoo’s African elephant herd died suddenly long after surpassing the 17-year median lifespan for such elephants in captivity.
Zoo officials announced the death Wednesday, saying they found M’Dunda collapsed in the elephant habitat Tuesday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. Veterinary staff rushed to try and save her, but she was already deceased, according to the Oakland Zoo’s Facebook page.
M’Dunda’s body was transported to U.C. David School of Veterinary Medicine for a necropsy and testing to determine her specific cause of death.
They said the elephant showed no signs of medical issues despite her advanced age. She had just turned 50 this past September.
M’Dunda was the third oldest African elephant in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoo.
She came to the Oakland Zoo in 1993 from the San Diego Zoo and quickly built a reputation as gentle and kind.