Monday, April 7, 2008

Winky the Elephant Dies at Age 56

Winky the elephant has died at the age of 56.

Some of you might remember Winky and partner Wanda, Asian elephants formerly of the Detroit Zoo; they were relocated to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) animal sanctuary in California. Both Winky and Wanda suffered from severe arthritis and were relocated to the sanctuary to live out their lives in relative peace and freedom and some measure of comfort.

The following is courtesy of the PAWS web site. Please visit the site to learn more about their sanctuaries, educational programs, ways to help, and of course the wonderful animals that reside there.

PAWS Bids Loving Farewell to Beloved Elephant

April 7, 2008

(San Andreas, CA) In the early morning hours of April 7th, Winky, one of PAWS’ cherished Asian elephants, passed away peacefully. Born in 1952, Winky was one of the oldest elephants in the United States.

Arriving to her retirement at PAWS’ ARK2000 sanctuary three years ago - almost to the day - April 8, 2005 – Winky made the long trip from Detroit to California with her long-time companion, Wanda. They had resided at the Detroit Zoo for approximately 17 years, until decision was made to close their elephant exhibit. Prior to her stay in Detroit, Winky had lived at the Sacramento Zoo.

Last week, Ruby, who also has a history of colic episodes, showed signs of distress and we immediately began a course of treatment which included keeping her in the small yard to monitor her stool and food and water intake. Since Maggie occupies the small yard until she goes out into the habitat with the others, Ruby and Maggie shared the smaller habitat.

While Wanda quickly took to roaming the grassy hillside habitat of ARK2000, Winky choose to spend her days basking in the sunshine, staying closer to her barn. “Perhaps it was because of all of the attention she received, or all of the treats she was given, at any rate, she wanted to stay close to home.” Pat Derby, PAWS’ founder, fondly recalls.

Winky had long suffered from joint problems. Her veterinarian from the Detroit Zoo was out to see her this weekend. According to her night keeper, at 3am she gently slid to her hind quarters and could not get up. The keeper immediately notified all elephant keepers and PAWS’ Directors, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart.

Urgent attempts were made to lift her, but she could not stand and support her back legs. She had three veterinarians in attendance while she was euthanized. Her companion, Wanda, choose to stay with her for some time. A necropsy is scheduled at UC Davis.

“Winky was a wonderful girl. She was a sweet favorite of all of those who cared-for her. She had a happy spring day yesterday – getting lots and lots of attention, and of course, lots of her special treats. We will all miss her terribly.” Derby added.


  1. Elephants are amazing creatures. It's sad when we as humans take them for granted and they get poached for their ivory.
    I don't agree with circus elephants, but I think some of them are well treated in zoos. They must feel a tremendous loss.


    (I took your horse quiz, and I'm an Andalusian as well.)
    Hey, I've got a fun music quiz up at Poetikat's. Drop in!

  2. DD, Have you heard about this?!!!

    I can't go beyond the first picture, but tell me if he gives info about protesting.



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