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Fresno Chaffee Zoo mourns death of African elephant

Keeping the Fresno Chaffee zoo’s Asian elephant cool during triple-digit temps

Shaunzi, The Fresno Chaffee Zoo's Asian elephant, enjoys a plunge in her pool while also getting a shower, cold fruit and a bamboo cane during Fresno's heat wave.
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Shaunzi, The Fresno Chaffee Zoo's Asian elephant, enjoys a plunge in her pool while also getting a shower, cold fruit and a bamboo cane during Fresno's heat wave.

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s 11-year-old elephant, Bets, has died, the zoo announced Sunday.

Officials said the veterinary team noticed Bets was not behaving normally on Friday. While running a diagnostic test, Bets’ health rapidly declined and she died late Saturday, zoo officials said in a news release.

Officials are still working to determine what may have led to the death.

“We’re extremely saddened by the loss of Bets. This is a great loss to Fresno Chaffee Zoo and our community,” CEO Scott Barton said in the statement. “Our veterinary and animal care teams worked diligently to assist and treat her.”

Bets arrived at Fresno Chaffee Zoo in May 2015 along with her mother, Amy, from a wildlife sanctuary in Arkansas. Amy suffered an injury the caused her health to decline before she was euthanized in 2017 at the zoo. Amy was 30 years old when she died, according to Bee archives.

About six months before Amy’s death, Kara, an Asian elephant who’d be at the Fresno zoo since the early 1980s, died at the age of 40 after suffering from chronic osteoarthritis, according to Bee archives.

Betts shared her exhibit with Vus’Musi 14-year-old male African Elephant as well as Nolwazi and Amahle, a mother-daughter pair of African elephants.

Larry Valenzuela: 559-441-6084, @LarryValWork
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