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Elephant Update: Shanthi Rings in the New Year

  • Asian elephant Shanthi at the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

As the Smithsonian’s National Zoo rang in the new year, the elephant team celebrated another revolution around the sun for (now) 45-year-old female Asian elephant, Shanthi. Because Shanthi was born in the wild in Sri Lanka, her actual birth date is unknown, so keepers choose to celebrate her turning another year older Jan. 1. 

Although Shanthi’s health had many ups and downs in terms of her arthritic events in 2019, she has remained steady in terms of her appetite, socialization, movement and participation in training sessions. She still shows signs of discomfort and stiffness in her gait, and the animal care team continues to manage Shanthi’s comfort using oral anti-inflammatories, analgesics and cosequin. Shanthi otherwise appears to be acting and behaving well and even enjoyed interacting with some extra-special holiday-themed enrichment.

Although arthritis is an incurable disease and is expected to worsen over time, the team is committed to doing what is best for Shanthi and is monitoring her health and wellbeing closely. The Zoo will continue to provide updates on its website as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.