Beloved elephant dies at Seattle zoo

/ Source: The Associated Press

A young Asian elephant that had delighted visitors at the Woodland Park Zoo since her birth died Friday, about a week after she began showing signs of abdominal pain, zoo officials said.

Six-year-old Hansa had been given fluids and antibiotics and was being monitored after showing a decreased appetite and activity. Zoo officials were conducting a necropsy.

“She was a little princess, and she had a big old Buddha belly,” Dr. Kelly Helmick, director of animal health, said at a news conference.

Hansa, whose name means “supreme happiness” in Thai, was the first elephant born at the century-old Woodland Park Zoo.

Asian elephants, which are endangered, typically live about 45 years, according to the zoo’s Web site. Animal rights groups said Hansa’s death is further evidence that the zoo is too small for elephants.

The zoo’s remaining herd consists of Hansa’s mother, Chai, 28; Bamboo, a 40-year-old Asian elephant; and Watoto, a 38-year-old African elephant.