A 48-year-old female elephant named Dumbo has died at Zoo Planckendael in Mechelen, the zoo announced Wednesday.
Announcing the news on social media, the zoo said that the Asian elephant had been found dead by caregivers in her pen on Wednesday morning.
Dumbo, the zoo's elephant matriarch, had been struggling with health issues for some time, and during the last week, her health "sharply deteriorated," zoo representative Ilse Segers told VRT.
"Her health and quality of life deteriorated day after day," the zoo wrote on Facebook. "Dumbo was 48 years old, a beautiful age for an Asian elephant who lives between 50 and 60 years on average."
Segers said that Dumbo had become blind on one eye and had drastically lost weight in recent weeks, adding that the zoo believed the animal had died of natural causes but that they would investigate the cause of her death.
Dumbo was born in the wild and was brought to Antwerp Zoo in 1974, when she was two years old, before being transferred to Zoo Planckendael.
The news of her death coincides with the week in which zoos across Belgium were allowed to reopen after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The Brussels Times