The El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens mourns the passing of the beloved Asian elephant Savannah

The El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens mourns the passing of the beloved Asian elephant Savannah

Gabriela Rodriguez and the City of El Paso

44 minutes ago


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens mourns the loss of beloved Asian elephant Savannah, who was humanely euthanized due to the rapid and irreversible decline in her quality of life.

The 71-year-old elephant was suffering from advanced arthritis, which is no longer responding to treatment. Savannah received special treatment for her arthritis from medical staff that included stem cell therapy, multiple oral pain medications, joint supplements, and injectable joint supplements to help reduce inflammation and pain in her joints, especially the area most affected, the left elbow.


“I have had the pleasure of helping care for Savannah for 18 years. She has actively participated and volunteered in her health care, as long as the reward is a sufficiently tasty treat,” said Dr. Victoria Milne, El Paso Zoo veterinarian. She allowed regular blood collection, joint treatment, and took her medications as needed. The entire veterinary team will miss our regular visits, check-ups and pampering. It’s never easy to say goodbye to our long-time resident, but we have no options to keep her comfortable.

Savannah participated in a daily exercise routine that focused on maintaining joint mobility. Throughout her illness, she continued to socialize with zookeepers, enjoy long baths in her pool, and participate in enrichment activities.

Her last birthday was celebrated in September with the community singing happy birthday, a huge birthday cake, and guests signing a huge birthday card in her honor. One lucky raffle winner received a custom fingerprint plate designed by Savannah.

“Savannah was a gentle giant with a great spirit. She was a great ambassador for her species and for our zoo. She enjoyed meeting new people and showing off her abilities on the harmonica and ‘fetch,'” said Joe Montesano, El Paso Zoo Director. “The dedicated Zoo staff and veterinary team did everything they could to make sure she was comfortable while managing her end-of-life care. We mourn her loss and are grateful for the many memories she made for us during her decades at the Zoo.

Savannah lived life to the full and helped guests learn about her wild counterparts and the challenges they face in their native habitat. The average life expectancy of the Asian elephant in North America is 45 years. The Savannah’s longevity is a testament to the high-quality, lifelong care that all animals receive from park rangers, excellent nutrition, preventative and corrective veterinary care, and a safe environment.

The Savannah was brought to the United States from India when she was two years old. She resided at the Dallas Zoo from 1954 to 1975 but was moved to the Baton Rouge Zoo in 1975. The Baton Rouge Zoo moved to a breeding facility, and Savannah was moved to the El Paso Zoo in 1997.

The El Paso Zoo supports many efforts to help wild elephants. Zoo Supports elephant conservation through educational programs and Funding elephant conservation organizations around the world. To learn more about the El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens, visit www.ElPasoZoo.org.

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