Los Angeles Zoo mourns death of Asian elephant Shaunzi

Los Angeles- The Los Angeles Zoo family is mourning the loss of 53-year-old female Asian elephant Shaunzi.

On Jan. 2, the Zoo’s two female elephants, Tina and Shaunzi, were in their habitat, the Thai Yard section of the Elephants of Asia. At approximately 8:30pm, overnight Zoo staff observed Shaunzi down in her exhibit and she appeared to be unable to stand up.

Animal care staff and Zoo veterinarians responded quickly and worked through the night to help Shaunzi up. Despite the use of all resources and personnel available, the extraordinary efforts were ultimately unsuccessful. The incident resulted in the heartbreaking decision to sedate and euthanize Shaunzi in the early morning hours of Jan. 3.

The Los Angeles Zoo staff is devastated by this loss. The care and wellbeing of the elephants and all of the animals at the Zoo is always a top priority. The responsibility of keeping animals is a privilege and the Zoo is committed to providing the highest standard of care to ensure the animals’ health and their ability to thrive.

Shaunzi was born in Thailand and spent much of her youth in a circus environment. She arrived at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in 1983 and came to the Los Angeles Zoo in 2017 to be with elephants Tina, Jewel, and Billy.

Shaunzi lived a full life and was an ambassador for her species. She helped Angelenos learn about her wild counterparts and the challenges they face in their native range. The species is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with only an estimated 40,000 individuals remaining in the wild. Elephants have been hunted illegally for their tusks, and much of their habitat has been fragmented and destroyed.

She will be dearly missed by the Los Angeles Zoo staff, members, and the millions of visitors who come to the Zoo each year.

Rest in peace, Shaunzi.


The Los Angeles Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is dedicated to providing exemplary animal care and wellbeing. As a trusted leader in local and global conservation efforts, the Los Angeles Zoo is saving wildlife and connecting Angelenos to the natural world by delivering diverse learning opportunities and creating unforgettable experiences. The lush 133-acre campus and its passionate and dedicated team welcomes all to be inspired by the Zoo’s vision to create a just and sustainable world where people and wildlife thrive, together. The Zoo is located on Zoo Drive in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways. Admission is $22 for adults and $17 for children ages 2 to 12. For information, call (323) 644-4200 or visit the L.A. Zoo website at www.lazoo.org.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here