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Phoenix Zoo’s Asian elephant Sheena has passed away

Sheena Asian Elephant Phoenix Zoo.jpg
Posted at 2:57 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 17:21:52-05

PHOENIX — Sheena, the Phoenix Zoo’s beloved elderly Asian elephant, has died at the age of 50.

Sheena has been battling chronic osteoarthritis and gastrointestinal issues for several years and was found unable to stand this morning. She died of natural causes shortly after.

Sheena arrived at the Phoenix Zoo in 2000 from the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation and was a favorite of staff members and guests over the years.

Sheena Asian Elephant.jpg

“Sheena was the ‘sneaky one,’” says Heather Wright, Manager of Elephants. “She wasn’t outwardly rambunctious, but we’d hear her playing with toys in the barn, and when we’d come around the corner to watch her, she would freeze and give a look like ‘What? It wasn’t me!’ and act innocent. It was so funny! Sheena was incredibly intelligent, extremely sweet and she seemed to love everybody.”

Watch video of Sheena enjoying a nice shower on a warm day in 2013 in the player below:

Sheena was often part of the zoo’s “end of life tours” where people who had a last wish could visit the Asian elephants.

Wright says Sheena would often build a bond with those people during the tours and seemed to want to comfort them.

“It was a beautiful thing to witness,” says Wright. “She will be sorely missed by all her caretakers here at the Zoo, as well as our members and guests.”