Keepers and visitors to Perth Zoo are bracing for the worst, following news an iconic resident’s health is in steep decline.
At 65-years-old, Tricia is the oldest elephant to be cared for by a zoo in Australasia and one of the oldest elephants in the world.
Tricia has undergone close monitoring of her health throughout her twilight years, having brought joy to generations of visitors.
As one of the zoo’s oldest residents, she has been receiving treatment and supportive care for various age-related complaints.
However, keepers and veterinarian staff have reported over the last week her health has deteriorated rapidly.
“Tricia is being assessed daily and has teams of people dedicated to her medical care and welfare, but we know we do not have long to go with our grand old dame,” a statement from the zoo said.
“It is a day-by-day proposition.”
The zoo said the decision when to farewell Tricia will be made based on the best veterinary advice, as well as what is best to enable a dignified and respectful end to her life.
Tricia was born in Vietnam in 1957 and arrived in Perth in 1963. She is named after Miss Australia 1962, Tricia Reschke.
In 2018, Perth Zoo announced it would no longer house any elephants after Tricia dies.
The decision was made in conjunction with a broader move towards “herd-enclosures” internationally.
At the time, then-environment minister Stephen Dawson explained the relatively smaller size of the zoo meant it couldn’t accommodate a functioning herd with multiple elephants.