TACOMA, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video was published in November 2019.
A longtime favorite among zoo-goers at Tacoma's Point Alliance Zoo and Aquarium has been euthanized.
Hanako, a 56-year-old Asian elephant was "humanely euthanized after a severe decline in her health," according to zoo officials.
Hanako was diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and tuberculosis in 2019. She also suffered from advanced joint disease.
Vets said they made the difficult decision to euthanize her when she stopped eating her regular diet and showed signs of discomfort, despite pain medication.
“We have lost a treasured member of our zoo family and a beloved icon of our community,” said Dr. Karen Goodrowe, general curator of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. “Our hearts are heavy. Hanako was a magnificent ambassador for her species, and we will greatly miss her.”
The zoo said the life expectancy for Asian elephants in human care is 47.
Hanako has been with the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for at least two decades.
Suki (55) is the zoo's last Asian elephant. Asian elephants are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their numbers are dwindling due to poaching, habitat loss and other human-animal conflicts.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium decided years ago that Hanako and Suki would be the zoo’s last elephants. They are the last remaining elephants at any zoo in Washington state.