Fresno Chaffee Zoo announces that Amy, the African elephant, has died

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- According to officials at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Amy, the 30-year-old female African elephant, has died.

Despite over two years of advanced medical treatments, Amy was humanely euthanized on December 11, 2017, due to a rapid decline in health which originated from a ligament tear in her right elbow.

"Amy's ligament tear led to her development of severe arthritis," said Dr. Shannon Nodolf, the chief veterinary officer at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. "Amy's inability to use her leg due to this injury greatly impacted her mobility and well-being by leading to the progressive, painful degeneration of her other joints. Although she had been under active veterinary care, we reached a point where we were unable to stop the progression of her decline and were no longer able to manage her pain."

Zoo officials said Amy came to the zoo in May of 2015 along with her daughter, Betts, from a wildlife sanctuary in Arkansas.

Officials said the exact cause of Amy's ligament tear is unknown.

"Unfortunately, we won't be able to identify the exact cause of her torn ligament," Nodolf said. "A few months after Amy's arrival in Fresno, the animal care team discovered that she was reluctant to bend her right elbow. Ever since then, we have been working persistently to improve her mobility and make her as comfortable as possible."

Officials said in an attempt to improve Amy's condition, the Zoo's veterinary team consulted with experts from around the country.

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is currently home to two African elephants.

Amy's team of dedicated zookeeper's released a statement saying, "Amy was an extraordinary animal in every way. She was a very strong-willed elephant and taught us that when you invest the time and patience to build a relationship, it's always worth it. Through her life, she brought joy to so many people, and we were lucky enough to share in that joy for her final years. The elephant house will feel very empty without her big personality in it."
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