EXPIRED: 08/24/09 – Kashin, 40, an Asian elephant at the Auckland Zoo and constant companion to 26 year old Burma. This makes her a cougar! She loved swimming, eating, and demanding attention & became very vocal when excited – with chirps, rumbles and roars.
The beloved Asian elephant was put down on Monday afternoon after vets noticed a marked deterioration in her health over the weekend.
Kashin came to Auckland Zoo from Thailand at the age of four in 1972 and spent her life there, often being the centre of attention and star attraction. She has been described on Auckland Zoo’s website as the “Queen Mum, the matriarch of the zoo family.”
“Zoo staff are devastated, grieving the loss of their incredibly spirited and gentle matriarch,” zoo chairman Graeme Mulholland said.
“Kashin touched the lives, not just of the zoo family, but thousands of New Zealanders and international visitors who came to know and love her… she will be greatly missed by all.”
He says the decision to put the elephant down followed years of chronic arthritis and foot abscesses. More recently she had developed skin infections over her body that were not healing.
“We have been monitoring her extremely closely over the past few months, and noticed over the weekend that she was depressed and withdrawn. She was not responding to her keepers and her environment the way she normally did, which is unusual. Despite being on pain relief, she was showing signs of being in pain.”
Kashin’s death was expected to have an impact on the zoo’s remaining elephant – 26-year-old Burma – who would be closely monitored as another elephant partner is sought.
“Our top priority will be to get company for Burma as soon as possible, and in the meantime keepers will be giving Burma all the extra attention that she needs,” said Mulholland.