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Zoo News

Zoo News

Dallas Zoo Mourns Loss of Oldest Elephant
Apr 13, 2012

Stumpy the Elephant was the matriarch of the Giants of the Savanna

Dallas, Texas (April 13, 2012) – The Dallas Zoo today sadly announced the passing of Zoo resident Stumpy, an African elephant.  Stumpy was 47 and believed to be among the five oldest African elephants living in the United States. Specific details about which age-related conditions caused her passing won’t be available for several weeks following the necropsy, according to Dallas Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Tim Storms.  Stumpy was part of the Zoo’s matriarchal elephant family, who, due to their advanced ages, are affectionately known as the “Golden Girls.”

“The Giants of the Savanna was designed specifically for aging elephants providing them a caring, comfortable and stimulating environment for the end stages of their lives,” said Gregg Hudson, executive director of the Dallas Zoo and the Children’s Aquarium at Fair Park. “Thanks to the Savanna, these elephants were given a new home to live out their twilight years.”

“Stumpy was born in Africa and came to the United States in 1967.  She lived in Florida at Lion Country Safari before coming to the Dallas Zoo in 2010,” said Dr. Lynn Kramer, deputy director for animal conservation and science.  “Stumpy passed away Friday, April 13, after her health declined over the past couple of weeks. She will be truly missed by the staff and guests.”

Stumpy, along with her companion of 40 years Mama, was thriving in her new home, surrounded by her close elephant friends, until two weeks ago.  At that time her health began failing, due to her advanced age, and she received round-the-clock care.  Since their arrival at the Dallas Zoo, the herd has expanded to several elephants including Gypsy and Jenny with whom Mama has bonded.

“Stumpy was one of the sweetest elephants ever.  Her calm and gentle manner, and obvious intelligence, served her well in her role as the matriarchal leader of our elephant herd.  She taught the staff a lot about elephants.  We all love her and will miss her greatly,” said Robbie Clark, elephant keeper.

The average life expectancy for an African elephant in professionally managed zoological facilities is 33 years, according to a study conducted by Robert J. Weise, Ph.D., director of animal collections at the San Diego Zoo.

Guests who wish to leave a memoriam note about Stumpy for Mama or the elephant keepers are welcome to post on the Zoo’s Facebook page (

Contact: Meghan Fitzsimmons,, 214-563-4808.