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Oldest African Elephant at Oakland Zoo Dies at 50

'She was such a gentle being, and closely bonded with her keepers,' Oakland Zoo’s president and CEO said. 'We’ll miss her greatly.'

MDunda
Courtesy of the Oakland Zoo

The oldest African elephant at the Oakland Zoo died Tuesday at the age of 50, according to the zoo.

M'Dunda collapsed inside the elephant habitat and died at roughly 2:45 p.m., the zoo said. An exact cause of death was not immediately known.

"M'Dunda has been part of our Oakland Zoo family for 26 years," Dr. Joel Parrott, Oakland Zoo's President and CEO, said in a statement. "She was such a gentle being, and closely bonded with her keepers. We'll miss her greatly."

After finding that M'Dunda had collapsed, zookeepers cleared the other elephants from the habitat and rushed to her aid, but when they got to her, she was already dead, according to the zoo.

M'Dunda was transported to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Tuesday evening, the zoo said. Officials will perform testing and a necropsy to determine how she died.

According to the zoo, the average median lifespan of African elephants in captivity is 17 years. M'Dunda was said to be the third oldest African elephant in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoo.

The zoo said she didn't show any signs of existing medical issues despite her advanced age.

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