October 17, 2018

I t is with broken hearts that we announce the passing of 47-year-old Sujatha, one of the Santa Barbara Zoo’s two Asian elephants. Sujatha arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo from India in 1972 at the age of one-and-a-half with her companion Little Mac. She has been a beloved member of the Santa Barbara community ever since.

At 47, Sujatha is considered elderly for her species and has been facing age-related challenges over the past three years. We employed an array of treatments to address her challenges and pain, including laser therapy, stem cell treatments, physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and medications.

In the last two weeks, her health began to decline more dramatically. After exhausting all options to help Sujatha and following weeks of discussions, the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanize her last night.

Sujatha shared exceptionally close bonds with her keeper staff of many years, as well with her lifelong companion, Little Mac. She died in the upper yard of her exhibit, surrounded by her keepers, veterinary personnel, and support staff.  Immediately following, Little Mac was given access to Sujatha to grieve her companion of 46 years.

She has left her mark on this community and has helped us all be more conscious, more connected, and more inspired than we were before.

Liz BeemElephant Manager

Sujatha has delighted generations of families who met her and inspired countless numbers of individuals to care more about the world around them. She played an incredible role as an ambassador for her species, promoting awareness of the decline of her wild counterparts and just how vital it is that we protect them.

This is a substantial loss for our community, for our staff, and for Little Mac. Our primary focus now is the well-being of Little Mac, making sure she has plenty of support during this transitional time as we explore various options for her future.

Thank you for sharing in Sujatha’s legacy over the past 46 years, and for your continued support during this hard time.

If you’d like to make a gift in memory of Sujatha, please consider making a donation to our Foster Feeder program, which helps feed Little Mac and the other animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Donate to foster feeder program

Sujatha delighted generations of families who met her and inspired countless individuals to care more about the world around them. She played an incredible role as an ambassador for her species, promoting awareness of the decline of her wild counterparts and just how vital it is that we protect them.

Rich Block

About Rich Block

Rich Block is the CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo.

SANTA BARBARA ZOO
500 Ninos Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 93103