‘Saddest elephant in the world’ dies after 43 YEARS in solitary confinement at a Spanish zoo
- Flavia the elephant lived alone in her enclosure at Spanish zoo for 43 years
- She had been named ‘the world’s saddest elephant’ by animal rights activists
- As her health had deteriorated, she was put down after collapsing on Friday
An elephant known as ‘the saddest in the world’ has died at the age of 47, after more than four decades in solitary confinement at a Spanish zoo.
Flavia spent 43 years living alone in her enclosure at Cordoba Zoo, southern Spain and passed away last week.
Animal rights groups had made several attempts to try and have Flavia moved so she could be homed with other elephants, but were unable to succeed in time.
‘The saddest elephant’: Flavia the elephant, 47, was found collapsed in her enclosure was eventually put down on Friday
The elephant’s health had been deteriorating for several months, and she was said to suffer from depression, The Local reports.
She collapsed in her enclosure on Friday, and after she was unable to get to her feet, she was euthanized.
Amparo Pernichi, the councillor in charge of Environmental issues at Cordoba City Hall, said Flavia’s death was ‘a tremendous blow in general for the zoo family,’ according to the website.
‘During the last six months, Flavia’s physical condition had deteriorated, but especially so in the last two weeks’.
Mr Pernichi called Flavia ‘an icon of the city’ and said she would be terribly missed.
The elephant had spent 43 years living alone in an enclosure at Cordoba Zoo, southern Spain
Animal rights groups had made several attempts to try and have Flavia moved to she could be homed with other elephants
Sad: Flavia’s health had been deteriorating in the months leading up to hear death, and she was said to suffer from depression
Elephants are highly social beings who live in tight-knit family units in the wild.
African elephants live in herds with and average of more than 11 members, but ‘mega herds’ of several hundred and up to 1,000 individuals have been observed in the wild.
A 2009 study found that interaction with other elephants provides ‘the single most signiﬁcant form of enrichment’ to the lives of animals living in captivity.
Solitary elephants have even been reported as resorting to ‘self-harm’, such as biting themselves, or displaying behaviour indicating mental health issues, such as rythmic swaying in their pens.