Tulsa Zoo's Oldest Elephant Enters Hospice Care
The Tulsa Zoo's longest resident is nearing the end of her life.
Gunda, the Asian elephant, has been at the zoo for more than half a century. Now, she's entered hospice care.
This week, the zoo announced Gunda has begun hospice care. Most have an idea what hospice means generally, but what does it mean for an elephant?
"We're just letting her choose what she wants to do,” said Joe Barkowski.
Barkowski is in charge of animal conservation and science and says Gunda's on a reduced activity schedule but can be inside or out wherever she likes.
They say an elephant never forgets.
She just turned 67 in November which is good for an Asian Elephant.
“To get to 67 plus is a real milestone for sure,” said Barkowski.
Gunda came to Tulsa in 1954 from India. Her boat made an unplanned stopover in Bermuda and a lady there wrote a book about her stay there.
"Staff comes and goes; people grow up, have children and grandchildren, they move away, they come back, they visit, but she's always here,” said Barkowski.
There's no time schedule for Gunda. The zoo folks are just letting her live out her remaining time doing what she wants. She’s very much the grand lady at the Tulsa Zoo.