A beloved African elephant who lived at the San Diego Zoo was found dead inside the facility Tuesday morning, zoo officials confirmed.
The elephant – named “Mila – was found unresponsive by the San Diego Zoo’s animal care staff. The cause of her death is unknown. The San Diego Zoo said Wednesday that the veterinary staff will perform a necropsy on Mila at the zoo’s Elephant Care Center to determine why and how she died.
The African elephant – one of many in the zoo’s herd – first came to the San Diego Zoo in November 2013, when she was 41. Before being moved to San Diego, Mila lived at the Franklin Zoo in New Zealand.
She made her mark quickly at the San Diego Zoo; staffers say she will be sorely missed by many.
According to the zoo’s website, African elephants typically live into their late-30s, up to even 50 years of age, in the wild and in zoos. African elephant females can weigh up to 8,000 pounds; African elephants are the largest mammals on land.
The San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Care Center provides care for geriatric elephants and those needing extensive medical care. It opened in 2009, and treats both Asian and African species.