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City of Little Rock Public Relations
Office (501) 371-4421

Media Releases

Contact(s):Meg Matthews
(501) 371-4421

Monday, September 9, 2013

City Mourns the Passing of Jewell the Elephant

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  


For more information, contact:


Susan Altrui

501-351-0273 cell


Mike Blakely

501-351-6041 cell


Bryan Day



Zoo Mourns Loss of 62-Year-Old Elephant, Jewell


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 8, 2013) – The Little Rock Zoo is sad to report the death of Jewell, a 62-year-old elephant living at the Zoo since 2011.  The Zoo will be closed today as staff remove the elephant from the exhibit.  Large equipment is in use and most pedestrian paths are blocked inside the Zoo.

            Zoo staff reported early this morning that Jewell was lying on her side on the ground and was struggling to get up.  The elephant was unable to lift herself up on her own and Zoo staff worked quickly to lift Jewell to her feet using a large crane and harness. 

After she was lifted to her feet the elephant could not stand on her own without assistance.  Zoo veterinarian staff, in consultation with Zoo elephant staff, evaluated the elephant’s condition and made the decision to euthanize her.  A necropsy will be performed on the elephant.

Median life expectancy for female Asian elephants living in AZA accredited zoos is 49.6. 

            Jewell was donated to the Little Rock Zoo in 2011 by the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation where she had been living since her retirement from the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus. 

            The Zoo’s other elephant, Zina, was also donated to the Zoo by Ringling Brothers and is doing well, according to Zoo staff. 

The Little Rock Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you and a better future for all living things.  With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.  For more information, visit

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