37-year-old elephant dies at Seneca Park Zoo

Updated: October 22, 2019 05:44 PM
Created: October 22, 2019 10:01 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The staff at Seneca Park Zoo is mourning the loss of another animal — a 37-year-old African elephant.

Chana arrived at Seneca Park Zoo in 2015 from Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with Moki, another 37-year-old female African elephant. Before Jacksonville, Chana was at Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. 


For two years, Chana had a chronic issue in one of the nails of her left front foot, which became infected. Zoo officials said she also had an autoimmune skin disease, general loss of body condition, and degenerative joint disease.

Her condition worsened Monday and zoo officials decided to euthanize her Monday night. 

Lou, a 27-year-old spotted hyena at the Seneca Park Zoo, died on Saturday due to age-related illness. He was the oldest hyena in human care. 

“Losing two beloved animals in the same week is very difficult for the Zoo family,” said Larry Staub, director of Monroe County Parks and Seneca Park Zoo. “While these two deaths are unrelated, it’s very sad for our staff, members, guests, and the whole community.”

Staub says Chana's death could be sad for the other elephants at the zoo too.

"Elephants are very intelligent animals. and as part of protocol for when you have a deceased elephant in a group you allow the elephants to grieve," Staub said.

The zoo’s remaining African elephants, Genny C and Lilac, both 41, and Moki, all of whom are females, are closely monitored for signs of age-related conditions.

The average life expectancy for a female African elephant is 38.6 years, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

A necropsy will be conducted on Chana, but results will not be available for several weeks.

The zoo and Lower Seneca Park will be closed Tuesday as staff deal with the recent losses.

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