African elephant at Oakland Zoo dies after long life

National

In this Aug. 2019, photo provided by the Oakland Zoo shows the eldest in Oakland Zoo’s African elephant herd, M’Dunda in Oakland, Calif. Zoo officials announced M’Dunda, 50, died Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (Sarah Levintin/Oakland Zoo, via AP)

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A 50-year-old matriarch of the Oakland Zoo’s African elephant herd died suddenly long after surpassing the 17-year median lifespan for such elephants in captivity,.

Zoo officials announced the death Wednesday, saying they found M’Dunda collapsed in the elephant habitat, and she died Tuesday before vets could help her.

They said the elephant showed no signs of medical issues despite her advanced age.

The University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine will determine the cause of death.

M’Dunda was the third oldest African elephant in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums zoo.

She came to the Oakland Zoo in 1993 from the San Diego Zoo and quickly built a reputation as gentle and kind. She celebrated her 50th birthday in September.

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