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Philadelphia Zoo's Former Resident Dulary the Elephant Dies at 50

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Dulary, an Asian elephant that called the Philadelphia Zoo her home for 43 years before moving to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, died on Sunday.

Officials said the animals had been experiencing some intermittent health issues since the beginning of the year. “The Sanctuary's elephant care and vet staff administered a treatment plan that included multiple medications and even an elephant corset crafted especially for Dulary out of burlap coffee bags. Soon she was feeling much better, and we happily celebrated her 50th birthday in May. Although Dulary continued to experience some health issues, she had been active and had a good appetite in recent months,” said Zoo officials in a news release.

Dulary was born in 1963 and made the Philadelphia Zoo her home a year later where she lived with both African and Asian elephants. The Zoo relocated the elephants in 2006 after they determined there wasn’t enough funding to build a new elephant habitat suitable for the expanding herd, they said. Dulary relocated to The Elephant Sanctuary and arrived on May 1, 2007. The Zoo’s other two popular female African elephants, Kallie and Bette, were moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s 724-acre International Conservation Center (ICC) (Read more here: http://www.examiner.com/article/philly-elephants-bette-kallie-summer-media-event-at-the-international-conservation-center).

According to officials, Dulary easily assimilated into Sanctuary life in Hohenwald, TN. Because elephants live in such close-knit herds and live for about as long as humans do (approximately 70 years), they form strong bonds with those around them. When these ones die, the rest of the herd mourns that death.

“Dulary was discovered lying down in the barn early Sunday morning,” continued the news release. “There had been no indication of any problems during the previous evening when caregivers checked in on the elephants in the Asian barn. All elephant care and vet staff were immediately alerted and quickly reported to the barn. Efforts to help Dulary stand were unsuccessful, and she was given supportive care while further diagnostic testing was performed. Philadelphia Zoo veterinary staff was consulted on Dulary's condition, and Sanctuary staff provided round the clock monitoring throughout the night. Dulary passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by those who loved her. Sanctuary staff then left the area and Dulary's companions, including her best friend Misty, were allowed in to be with her.”

The pachyderm’s Philadelphia family expressed it's deep grief in a statement that closed with Sanskrit term “Namaste” – I bow to you – “sweet Dulary”: “In India, 'Dulary' is a term of endearment intended for someone who is an object of great affection and love, and our Dulary will always hold a special place in our hearts. Strong-willed and self-confident, she was a treasured member of the Philadelphia Zoo community and The Elephant Sanctuary family, and she lived her life to the fullest every day. She will be remembered with joy by all of those whose lives she touched. We are honored to have been a part of her journey.”

Doctors will determine the exact cause of death.

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