Cleveland Metroparks Zoo lost one of its oldest and largest residents today, African elephant "Jo." The 45-year-old female elephant was euthanized by the Zoo's veterinary care staff this morning with her keepers by her side.
Jo was lying down in her night quarters when keepers arrived early this morning, which was out of the ordinary for her. She was awake, but in medical distress and unable to get up.
"This was a heart-wrenching situation," said Zoo Director Steve Taylor. "After carefully reviewing Jo's status, the Zoo's veterinary and animal care team made the very difficult but humane decision to euthanize her. We provided Jo with a great quality of life and we're very proud of that."
For the past several months, Jo was under medical observation and treatment for edema. A necropsy (animal autopsy) will be performed to determine the cause of death. The Zoo will release results of the necropsy when they become available. The Elephant Care & Visitor Center in African Elephant Crossing will be closed for the rest of the day but is expected to open tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Jo was born in Mozambique in 1967 and arrived at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 1997 from the Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. Weighing 7,500 pounds, she was the oldest elephant at the Zoo and shared African Elephant Crossing with four female elephants – Moshi, Martika, Shenga and Kallie, and one male elephant – Willy.