'Saddest elephant in the world' dies after living alone for 43 years and suffering deep depression in Spanish Zoo

'Saddest elephant in the world' dies after living alone for 43 years and suffering deep depression in Spanish Zoo

A female elephant at Spain's Cordoba Zoo known as the "saddest elephant in the world" passed away on March 1 after living 43 years in solitary confinement and suffering severe physical deterioration over the past six months.

Flavia had been the poster girl for multiple campaigns against keeping elephants in captivity. Having been separated from her herd at the tender age of three, the 47-year-old was suffering from deep depression after living a life in captivity in Cordoba Zoo. Flavia died on Friday after months of deteriorating health that saw her lose a lot of weight, The Local reports.


The Indian elephant reportedly collapsed in her enclosure and was unable to get to her feet after which authorities decided to put her down. On March 1, zoo officials announced her death by euthanasia "with great sadness" and said that her carers were heartbroken by the loss.

Describing Flavia as "an icon of the city", Amparo Pernichi, the councilor in charge of Environmental issues at Cordoba City Hall, said in a press conference that she would be terribly missed. "Her death is a tremendous blow in general for the zoo family, especially for Fran and Javi who had been her carers in the last moments, and also for Silvia, who took care of her previously," he said. "During the last six months, Flavia’s physical condition had deteriorated, but especially so in the last two weeks."


According to reports, the zoo in Spain had been working hand in hand with animal rights party Pacma in a bid to transfer Flavia to a sanctuary so that her day-to-day life could be improved. However, Pacma said that the Cordoba Zoo had "isolated the elephant, known as the saddest elephant in the world, during 43 years of confinement and solidarity."

They asserted that they had tried to "save" her from captivity up until her last moments, considering she had spent all her life in solitude within a confined space and was unable to socialize or interact with other elephants of her species. The "environmental richness" required for such animals was simply not given to Flavia.


Despite Pacma's best efforts to give Flavia the "utmost dignified retirement", they admitted the lone elephant had the "worst ending" she could have endured in the most unexpected way. Now, the animalist party's president Silvia Barquero Nogales has requested Cordoba Zoo and townhall not to bring in any more animals into the shelter and prevent their reproduction in captivity, saying that "no other animal has to ever go through this." 



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