The Greenville Zoo is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Ladybird, one of the zoo’s beloved African elephants.
“Our entire zoo family is heartbroken over this loss,” said Jeff Bullock, Greenville Zoo Director. “And because the Greenville community has shared in our joy over the birth of Kiko and Autumn’s current pregnancy, we know that the community also shares in our grief as we all cope with the death of such a beloved member of our family.”
Ladybird was monitored closely over the last month after a recent episode of colic or abdominal pain as a result of the change in weather. She had been receiving supportive care, including oral fluids and high fiber foods and showed some signs of improvement. “It’s easy to forget that at 44 years old, Ladybird was considered elderly for an elephant,” said Dr. Heather Miller, Greenville Zoo Deputy Administrator for Animal Health. “Despite being a geriatric elephant, she was doing well for her age until a couple of months ago when she began showing signs of age-related medical issues, including arthritis and other joint-related issues.”
Greenville Zoo staff discovered Ladybird lying down in the barn late Monday afternoon. Staff made multiple efforts to help Ladybird stand, but were unsuccessful. The Greenville Zoo staff veterinary team assessed Ladybird’s condition, and it was determined that euthanasia was the best course of action.
A team of pathologists from the University of Georgia Exotic Animal and Pathology Service, under the direct supervision of Dr. Miller, will perform a necropsy, which is required for any animal that passes away at the zoo. The Greenville Zoo expects to receive the test results within the next 2 to 3 weeks.
Ladybird came to the Greenville Zoo in 2006 from the Lion Country Safari Wildlife Park in Loxahatchee, FL to be a companion to Joy, the zoo’s other 44-year-old female African elephant. Zoo staff will monitor Joy closely over the next few days and will talk with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in the next few days about transferring Joy to another zoo since AZA regulations prohibit zoos from holding single elephants.
Last month staff was overwhelmed by the outpouring of well wishes on the zoo’s Facebook page and encourage the public to leave a memoriam note about Ladybird at facebook.com/greenvillezoo.
About the Greenville Zoo
Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), the Greenville Zoo is rated one of the best tourist attractions in South Carolina, attracting over 270,000 people annually. Operated by the City of Greenville, the 14-acre facility features wildlife from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, monkeys and giant tortoises. Visitors can also enjoy one of the zoo’s most popular exhibits, the Reptile Building, which is home to a variety of lizards, frogs, turtles and snakes.
The Greenville Zoo is open seven days a week, except on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Zoo entry ticket sales close at 4:15 p.m. Admission to the Greenville Zoo is $8.75 for adults and $5.50 for children (ages 3-15 years old). For more information about the Greenville Zoo, visit www.greenvillezoo.com or follow the zoo on Facebook at facebook.com/greenvillezoo.