Ailing elephant euthanized at San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo elephant

SAN DIEGO — San Diego Zoo staff euthanized an ailing elderly male elephant Tuesday suffering from a variety of age-related medical issues, park officials said.

Ranchipur was 50 years old, reportedly the fourth oldest male pachyderm in the Western Hemisphere.

“Our staff noticed he was not doing too well this morning,” said zoo spokesman Andrew James. “They evaluated him and came to the decision to euthanize him.”

A statement from the zoo said he appeared to be having medical difficulties and was weakened. He was unresponsive when treated.

A portion of the Elephant Odyssey exhibit was closed so a necropsy could be performed, James said. The elephant had been under veterinary care for a variety of ailments related to old age.

He said staff will also remove Ranchipur’s tusks and dispose of them in a way that will keep them off the black market.

Asian elephants are listed as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Ranchipur lived at the zoo’s Safari Park, then known as the Wild Animal Park, from 1981 to 2009. He was subsequently moved to the zoo when Elephant Odyssey opened.