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PAWS Bids Loving Farewell to Beloved Elephant

April 7, 2008

(San Andreas, CA) In the early morning hours of April 7th, Winky, one of PAWS’ cherished Asian elephants, passed away peacefully. Born in 1952, Winky was one of the oldest elephants in the United States.

Arriving to her retirement at PAWS’ ARK2000 sanctuary three years ago, almost to the day-- April 8, 2005 –- Winky made the long trip from Detroit to California with her long-time companion, Wanda. They had resided at the Detroit Zoo for approximately 17 years, until the decision was made to close their elephant exhibit. Prior to her stay in Detroit, Winky had lived at the Sacramento Zoo.

While Wanda quickly took to roaming the grassy hillside habitat of ARK2000, Winky chose to spend her days basking in the sunshine, staying closer to her barn. “Perhaps it was because of all of the attention she received, or all of the treats she was given, at any rate, she wanted to stay close to home,” Pat Derby, PAWS’ founder, fondly recalls.

Winky had long suffered from joint problems. Her veterinarian from the Detroit Zoo was out to see her this weekend. According to her night keeper, at 3am she gently slid to her hind quarters and could not get up. The keeper immediately notified all elephant keepers and PAWS’ Directors, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart.

Urgent attempts were made to lift her, but she could not stand and support her back legs. She had three veterinarians in attendance while she was euthanized. Her companion, Wanda, choose to stay with her for some time. A necropsy is scheduled at UC Davis.

“Winky was a wonderful girl. She was a sweet favorite of all of those who cared for her. She had a happy spring day yesterday-– getting lots and lots of attention, and of course, lots of her special treats. We will all miss her terribly,” Derby added.


Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax

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