Zulu Dies at the Elephant Sanctuary
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


The Elephant Sanctuary
January 2009

Zula was born in 1975 in the wilds of Africa. She was orphaned as result of a culling [mass killing] of all the adults and sub-adults in her family. On June 1, 1978 Zula arrived, along with another wild caught elephant named Tange, at the Chehaw Wild Animal Park in Albany Georgia. Zula and Tange spent their entire lives, prior to the Sanctuary, entertaining thousands of zoo patrons that visited the Chehaw Wild Animal Park.

On February 19, 2004 Zula moved to The Elephant Sanctuary. Along with her life-long companion, Zula became the Sanctuary’s first African elephants. Zula and Tange were soon joined by Flora, another wild caught African elephant and ex-circus performer.

Zulu and her tire

For almost 5 years, Zula flourished at The Elephant Sanctuary, enjoying the space and richness of her environment in the company of her best friend and ardent admirer, Tange. Zula became a confident individual, content to set out on her own from time to time. Over two years ago Zula proved her independence. After climbing a hill that she was not confident to descend, Zula spent the night away from Tange, but she was not alone; her caregiver strung up a hammock and slept under the stars with Zula. Known as the queen of mud, Zula loved to spend time in any form of mud, and was highly skilled at manufacturing mud wallows.

On January 11, 2009, Carol Buckley wrote in the African Ele-diary, "It is with great sorrow that we report that today we lost another of our precious elephants. Even if we were prepared for the loss, even if we had received some advance notice, the shock and sadness would not be diminished. But the suddenness of Zula’s passing has shaken us to our core. Zula, “big sister” and dearest friend to Tange, the nurturer, mature and kind, known to be gentle to everyone she ever met, left us tonight just after 11pm. By all accounts she was healthy and thriving when shortly after entering the barn for an evening meal she was found lying on the floor, struggling to rise. With her caregivers and vets at her side, Zula received emergency medical care in an effort to relieve her anxiety, encourage her to relax and regain her strength, and enable her to rise. When it was determined that the next step would be to hoist Zula onto her feet, she took her last breath and passed away. Zula’s sudden death leaves us with more questions than answers. The deep sorrow is felt by caregivers and elephant family alike. Zula remained in the barn with her sisters while arrangements were made for her necropsy and burial."

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