Animal obits

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2007:


Ralph, a young whale shark, died on January 11, 2007 at
the Georgia Aquarium. Aquarium executive director Jeff Swanagan and
Robert Heuter, director of shark research at the Mote Marine
Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida, disclosed on March 28, 2007 that
Ralph had been force-fed for months, and apparently died from
peritonitis after the feeding tube punctured his stomach. “Only one
other aquarium, in Okinawa, keeps whale sharks, who may live as
long as 120 years in the wild,” reported Brenda Goodman of The New
York Times. A study of 16 whale sharks kept at the Okinawa Expo
Aquarium from 1980 to 1998 found they survived, on average, 502 days
in captivity. That facility has kept at least one whale shark for
more than 10 years.

Atari, 46, matriarch of the 13-elephant herd at Ramat Gan
Safari near Tel Aviv, Israel, was on April 3, 2007 unexpectedly
charged and killed by Yossi, 33, a bull elephant nearly twice her
size. “What happened to Yossi, who grew up all his life with Atari,
and they always got along?” asked Ramat Gan Safari veterinarian
Yigal Horowitz afterward on Israel Radio. “Here and there were small
fights, but they never had a fight like this.”

r-Y, 23, a whooping crane hatched and banded in 1983, was
found dead on April 18, 2007 in a field near Almont, North Dakota,
apparently a natural casualty of the whoopers’ annual northward
migration. r-Y had helped to hatch and guide seven chicks south for
the winter since first nesting successfully in 1986. r-Y “was one of
25 whoopers in his flock still fitted with a band,” reported
Bismarck Tribune outdoors writer Richard Hinton. The flock was
banded in 1977-1988, and r-Y and his mate were radio-collared as
well, but the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service quit the banding project
after concern developed that banding may inhibit birds’ survival.
“Only 236 whooping cranes comprise the flock that winters on the
Texas Gulf Coast and breeds at Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park on
the Alberta-Northwest Territories border,” wrote Hinton. “It’s the
largest wild flock in North America,” recovered from fewer than two
dozen whoopers in the 1940s.

P.J., 7, an American paint parade horse belonging to the
Krazy Horse Ranch & Polo Club in Black Canyon City, Arizona, was
shot on February 24, 2007 by Maricopa County sheriff’s Deputy George
“Buddy” Acritelli after abruptly spooking, rearing back, and
impaling himself on a hay wagon pole at start of the Parada del Sol
in Scottsdale, Arizona. P.J. “was a very experienced horse,
accustomed to loud music, trail rides, and parades,” Parada del
Sol spokesperson Kendra Cea told Diana Balazs of the Arizona
Republic. His death was the first serious accident at the Parada del
Sol since four coach horses bolted in 1989, damaging two cars.

Maureen, 30, a California sea lion resident at the National
Zoo in Washington, D.C. since 1978, died on April 11, 2007.
Rescued as a one-year-old who lost all her teeth after becoming
entangled in a fishing net, Maureen “had for years been part of a
zoo performance designed to illustrate the dangers of pollution,”
recalled Washington Post staff writer Michael E. Ruane. “She had
been trained to retrieve debris that keepers would throw into the
pool as part of the demonstration.”

Marah, born on Christmas Day 2000 in captivity near
Bethlehem, South Africa, returned to the wild with her three cubs
on June 8, 2004, by Linda Tucker of The Global White Lion
Protection Trust, died in early April 2007, Tucker announced, when
a warthog burrow caved in on her while she was hunting. “The Global
White Lion Protection Trust is focused now on the survival of Marah’s
three-and-a-half year old sub-adult offspring,” wrote Tucker, “who
learnt their hunting techniques from their mother. The three
offspring have all hunted successfully on their own, killing prey as
large as adult wildebeest.” Marah was the first white lioness to be
returned to the Timbavati region as part of Tucker’s effort to
restore the white lion population once found there. White lions
were last captured in the Timbavati region and sold for breeding and
exhibition in 1993.

Angayarkanni, 41, a cow elephant long kept at Meenakshi
Sundareswarar temple in Madurai, India, died on March 31, 2007
from degenerative conditions resulting from a life mostly spent
standing on the concrete temple floors.

Ziggy, 15, and his mate, Sue Ann, 9, Louisville Zoo
siamangs whose first son, Zoli, was born on February 20, 2007,
were both found dead of no clear cause on the morning of April 4.
“We are at a loss as to what happened,” general curator Steve Wing
told Sheldon S. Shafer of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “They were
fine the night of April 3 when we checked on them–active, bright,
alert, and eating well.”

Yan-Yan, 22, a giant panda female who was given by the
Chinese government to former German chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1995,
died on March 26, 2007 in her cage at the Berlin Zoo. Yan Yan was
initially expected to produce offspring with a male named Bao Bao,
but after Yan Yan suffered a miscarriage in 1997 they never again
mated. Her death came as up to 30,000 visitors per day visited her
neighbor Knut, a baby polar bear who has been bottle-fed by keepers
since being abandoned by her mother, a former East German circus

Foxy, 10, a brindle pit bull terrier well known in
Hoboken, New Jersey, as companion of homeless resident Randy
Vargas, 46, on March 19, 2007 “saw a dog she knew across Hudson
Street, dashed across to say hello, and was hit by a white pickup
that stopped briefly and then sped off,” reported Peter Applebome of
The New York Times.

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