TOKYO – An elderly elephant that set off a petition drive to move her out of her concrete pen in a small zoo in Japan has died.
Hanako, or "flower child," was a gift from the Thai government in 1949 and lived in Inokashira Park Zoo in Tokyo since she was 2. She was Japan's oldest elephant, and her life of 69 years was long for captive Asian elephants.
Zoo spokesman Naoya Ohashi said Hanako was discovered lying on her side Thursday morning and repeated efforts to raise her upright were not successful. She died peacefully in the afternoon. He said an autopsy would be done to determine the cause.
The petition drive had sought Hanako's move to a Thai sanctuary, but the zoo said she was too old to move.