36-year-old elephant at NC zoo dies
Posted June 18
Asheboro, N.C. — A 36-year-old African elephant at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro has died, the zoo said Wednesday.
Zoo spokesman Rod Hackney said Little Diamond stopped eating and became lethargic last week and that her health declined over the next five days.
She died Tuesday evening.
An animal autopsy found the elephant had an impacted large intestine as a result of ingesting sand, which is common in elephant-holding facilities and exhibits.
Little Diamond, the first African elephant born in North America, had been at the zoo since 1995, when she was transferred from the Knoxville Zoo.
She was one of seven elephants at the North Carolina Zoo. The remaining elephants – four females and two males ranging in age from 12 to 40 – are in good condition and on exhibit, Hackney said.
“Little Diamond had been part of our elephant family for 20 years,” zoo director David Jones said. “This is a very sad loss.”