Bets the African elephant is seen in this photo from the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. The 11-year-old female died unexpectedly this weekend.

published on February 11, 2019 - 12:40 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Officials at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo have announced the sudden passing of one of its elephants this weekend.

“This is a great loss to Fresno Chaffee Zoo and our community,” said Scott Barton, CEO of Fresno Chaffee Zoo. “Our veterinary team and animal care teams worked diligently to assist and treat her. I’m grateful to work with such passionate and talented people.”

During her morning wellness check on Friday, the 11-year-old African elephant Bets was found to be behaving strangely. The veterinary team worked to examine Bets and run tests on her, but within a 36-hour period, her health rapidly declined and she died on Saturday evening.

“We consulted with zoo veterinarians around the country to devise our treatment plan. Bets had staff with her to monitor and care for her,” said Dr. Shannon Nodolf, chief veterinary officer. “We did everything we could in a short amount of time.”

The cause of death is currently unknown, pending necropsy and pathology reports. Tissue samples and remains will be analyzed for scientific study. These findings will allow Bets’ veterinary and animal care teams to learn more about her health and help other elephants in the future.

Bets came to Fresno Chaffee Zoo in May 2015 prior to the opening of the African Adventure exhibit. Bets shared her exhibit with Vus ‘Musi, a 14-year-old male and the mother-daughter pair Nolwazi and Amahle.

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