Tulsa, Okla. - The very first elephant to live at the Tulsa Zoo has died.
Gunda was brought to the U.S. and to Tulsa in 1954.
According to the Tulsa Zoo, Gunda’s trip to America was quite the experience.
“The ship carrying her to the United States broke down in Bermuda. Children, anxious to see an elephant for the first time, boarded the ship and Gunda became a news sensation.”
Gunda spent two weeks in Bermuda before she made it to the U.S.
The Tulsa Zoo said that event led to the creation of a childrens book called “Ghunda’s Bermuda Holiday.”
Gunda’s health had been declining as of late. Caretakers at the zoo placed her in hospice care just a week before her death.
When it was determined efforts to keep Gunda comfortable were no longer effective, the decision was made to euthanize her.
The Tulsa Zoo is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Gunda, the Tulsa Zoo’s longest resident. She passed away today, at the age of 67, in her exhibit attended to by her caregivers. #ElebrationOfLife— Tulsa Zoo (@TulsaZoo) January 22, 2018
>> https://t.co/4TxZMgbIBQ pic.twitter.com/Oz5OQpCRLg
Staff allowed the other elephants at the zoo to see Gunda one last time.
“After Gunda’s passing her long time herd mate Sooky spent time with her, as staff provided an opportunity for her to come into contact with Gunda one last time. Field research on elephant herd behavior has shown that elephants spend time with their deceased family members and we wanted to allow an opportunity for this important part of their social structure.”
Gunda was 67 years old.