Animal Obituaries

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2008:
(Actual publication date 11-5-08.)
Scarlett, a calico cat believed to be about 15, was euthanized on October 11, 2008 due to incurably painful conditions of age. Initially a Brooklyn alley cat, Scarlett lived with her kittens in a Brooklyn warehouse until March 29, 1996 when the warehouse caught fire. Firefighter David Giannelli of Ladder Company 175, involved in several other animal rescues of note during his long career, saw Scarlett dash five times into the blaze despite increasingly severe burns to rescue each of her four-week-old kittens. Giannelli took Scarlett and her kittens to the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington. There Scarlett was named in honor of Rhett Butler s line to Scarlett O Hara in the film Gone With The Wind: A cat s a better mother than you are. One kitten died from a virus about a month after the fire, but Scarlett and the others were adopted out after three months of treatment and socialization. Karen Wellen of Brooklyn kept Scarlett for the rest of Scarlett s life. In her prime Scarlett was a regal 19 pounds, with only severely scarred ears hinting at her traumatic past.

Meghana, 18, a tiger kept at the Bannerghatta Biological Park near Bangalore, India, was killed on October 12, 2008 in an apparently unprovoked attack by her son Brandis, 10, as they were being walked.

Dennis, a manatee who swam to Cape Cod but burned most of his body fat en route, was captured on October 11, 2008 and trucked to the Sea World rescue center in Orlando, Florida, but died soon after arrival.

Dottie, 26, an African elephant kept at Zoo Atlanta, died on October 27, 2008 after a two-week illness contracted in the third trimester of her third pregnancy.

Mumba, 48, the second oldest male lowland gorilla in captivity, died on October 21, 2008 at the Granby Zoo in Quebec. Born in Cameroon, Mumba came to Quebec at about 15 months old in 1961. His family were believed to have been killed by poachers. Raised at first in a Granby home, he was transferred to the zoo 15 months later. The zoo repeatedly introduced Mumba to intended mates, but he never tried to mate with any of them. One of them, Zira, came from Cameroon in 1983 as a baby, in a deal that International Primate Protection League founder Shirley McGreal argued was in violation of the intent of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, even though the zoo had a CITES permit. Zira meanwhile contracted avian influenza from the exotic birds with whom she was housed. McGreal asked Quebec newspaper columnist Bernard Epps to expose her plight. Epps, who died in July 2007, passed the assignment to then-Sherbrooke Record farm and business reporter Merritt Clifton, now editor of ANIMAL PEOPLE, and wrote supporting commentary while Clifton produced a series of exposés that culminated in a complete change of the zoo management and the transfer of Zira to the Toronto Zoo, where she was restored to health and raised with other young gorillas.

Baina, 3, a baby gorilla born at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, died on October 10, 2008 when struck without warning by her father, Samson, 13. She fell more than seven feet and hit her head. A similar death occurred at the zoo in 1970 when a female gorilla dropped her baby from the top of the cage.

Kipenzi, 8, an eastern black rhino from the Kansas City Zoo, on October 6, 2008 died at the Phoenix Zoo, where she was taken for emergency treatment after falling ill en route to the Oregon Zoo in Portland.

Rufus, 36, a white rhino who had resided at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk since 1974, was fatally gored on October 26, 2008 by Alfred, 40, a white rhino who arrived in 1996. The two rhinos were normally kept apart, but a door between their quarters was reportedly left unsecured.

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