Lone elephant at Bowmanville, Ont. zoo dies
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 11:00AM EST
Limba, a 50-year-old Asian elephant that lived at the Bowmanville Zoo, was euthanized early Tuesday morning after suffering from an undetermined illness.
Staff at the zoo east of Toronto said there was "no hope" for Limba – who was the only elephant at the zoo.
The decision was made to end her life after zoo staff found "a considerable amount of blood in her stool," according to a statement posted on the zoo's Facebook page Tuesday morning.
"Over the next several days we will investigate the illness that forced Limba’s demise and as information becomes available we will provide it to all of you, her extended family and friends," the statement said.
Limba had lived at the Bowmanville Zoo, located about one hour east of Toronto, since 1989. She was Canada's oldest elephant.
Limba had continued to perform at circuses despite her old age, and calls to move her to an animal sanctuary, such as the one in California that took in three elephants from the Toronto Zoo this fall.
Just a couple weeks before her death, Limba marched in the Bowmanville Santa Claus Parade, causing some protest from animals activists.
A petition signed by nearly 50,000 supporters had urged zoo officials to "immediately end the exploitation" of Limba.
"Limba has come to a point in her life in which she needs to be granted the right to retire from her life of work," the petition, posted on change.org, read.
Elephants are known as social animals, but the zoo maintained that despite Limba being the only elephant at the zoo, she was happy.
"When the Bowmanville Zoo had six elephants, they lived together and played together. Limba shied away from the other elephants," the zoo wrote on its website. "We don’t know if she was afraid or simply didn’t know what to do. But the fact is she did not bond with the others. She did not interact with them. She stayed away from them as much as possible."