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48-year-old elephant Little Mac euthanized at Santa Barbara Zoo


Little Mac, an Asian elephant who lived nearly all of her life at the Santa Barbara Zoo, was euthanized Wednesday after her health deteriorated rapidly, zoo officials said.

The California zoo said the animal had been in hospice care because chronic teeth problems and arthritis were compounded by new health issues that started in June.

“She continued to decline in spite of our best efforts, especially in the past two weeks,” Julie Barnes, the zoo’s vice president of animal care and health, said in a statement. “We had exhausted the medical options available that would allow her to have a good quality of life. It was time to let her go.”

She was with keepers and staff who cared for her over the years when she passed.

Little Mac came to the zoo in 1972 along with another female Asian elephant named Sujatha. Little Mac received her moniker from a local business man who owned several McDonald’s restaurants in Santa Barbara and paid for the animals’ airfare.

Sujatha was euthanized in October 2018 due to complications related to her old age.

Barnes said that Little Mac didn’t show any symptoms of depression after Sujatha’s death and would have likely been transferred to a sanctuary if her health hadn’t declined so sharply.