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Bronx Zoo euthanizes 48-year-old elephant

November 20, 2018
This undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society shows Maxine the elephant at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The Bronx Zoo says it has euthanized the 48-year-old Asian elephant that had fallen progressively ill. The zoo said it decided to euthanize Maxine on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, after exhausting all options and determining she was no longer able to eat. It said she had neurologic deterioration and generalized muscle weakness. (Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Bronx Zoo says it has euthanized a 48-year-old Asian elephant that had fallen progressively ill.

The zoo said it decided to euthanize Maxine on Monday after exhausting all options and determining she was no longer able to eat. It said she had neurologic deterioration and generalized muscle weakness.

Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny said Maxine, who came to the zoo in 1973, “died a peaceful death, surrounded by the keepers, curators and veterinarians who had cared for her throughout her life.”

The zoo has two remaining elephants, 47-year-old Happy and 48-year-old Patty. Breheny said the zoo will assess its elephant program following Maxine’s death.

Last month, an animal welfare group brought legal against the zoo, claiming Happy has similar rights to a human being and is being unlawfully imprisoned.

In a legal petition filed in Orleans County, the Nonhuman Rights Project claimed Happy lived mostly alone since her mate was fatally injured in 2002 and should be relocated from the zoo to a larger private sanctuary.

Zoo officials say Happy is content, not isolated and might suffer from a transfer. Breheny said the lawsuit is based on “ludicrous legal arguments and lies.”

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