Three St. Louis Zoo elephants turned 50-years-old in 2021

Missouri

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Three St. Louis Zoo elephants celebrated their 50th birthdays in 2021. The “Golden Girls” named Pearl, Donna, and Ellie have now lived past their median life expectancy in captivity of 47.5 years. The zoo says the elephants are now considered geriatric and may require more medical care as they age.

The older Asian elephants will be getting more health check-ups, daily exercises, and specialized dental care. Caretakers will also be conditioning the soil to make a softer walking surface for the animals. The elephant’s extended families at the zoo help with their mental health.

The zoo provided these notes about the individual elephants:

  • Pearl was the first female elephant to give birth at the Zoo. She is the mother of our bull elephant Raja and grandmother to Maliha, Jade, and Priya. A good problem solver, she loves challenging puzzle feeders filled with special treats.
  • Donna has distinctive, flappy ears that are always moving. She is conversational and enjoys making sounds with her trunk on various objects. A fantastic auntie, she used to spar with a much younger Raja. Nowadays, she helps teach Raja’s kids manners, such as sharing food and respecting elders.
  • Ellie is a doting mother of three, a grandmother and our tallest female. She has a calm demeanor and does life by her own schedule. She enjoys pruning our trees and chilling in one of the pools under the waterfall.

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