Lucky, one of the oldest elephants in the US, dies at San Antonio Zoo

Lucky, a staple of the San Antonio Zoo since 1962, has died.

The Asian elephant was the second one this year the Zoo has lost after Karen, Lucky's zoomate, died in March. 

The Zoo says its Animal Care Team had to make the "difficult" decision to euthanize Lucky, who passed away quietly Tuesday afternoon under the care of veterinarians and medical staff.

"Lucky will be missed by all her caretakers, visitors to the zoo, and our entire community. Lucky had a wonderful and warm personality - she often preferred being with her keepers than with other elephants. She was known for her sweetness, appreciation of affection, and gentle demeanor," said the Zoo in a Facebook post announcing the loss. The Zoo says it has retained professional grief counseling for its team.

The average age of an Asian elephant is 47.5 years, but Lucky lived up to her name. At 62, she was one of the oldest elephants in the United States, says the Zoo.

The Zoo is in active conversations to relocate its remaining elephant Nicole to be re-homed with other elephants. The trio were affectionately nicknamed the Golden Girls.

Once Nicole has been moved, the current elephant habitat, Bahati Waters, will be transformed into an expansion of The Savannah for giraffes, zebra, ostrich, and other African species, according to the Zoo. Elephants will eventually return to San Antonio Zoo in the future as part of a planned expansion with a new, world-class elephant habitat.

Karen was recently honored at the Zoo's Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda. This year marked the first year the Zoo had created a community altar like this. The Ofrenda featured photos of the animals that had passed at the Zoo, including Karen, and guests were welcome to contribute photos of their own pets and beloved animals.