Every neighborhood's loss

Hansa, the 6-year-old elephant who had been a crowd favorite since her birth at the Woodland Park Zoo, died in her sleep on Friday, June 8. The Elephant Barn was closed to the public that day.

Zookeepers had been monitoring the Asian elephant's health for a week because of her colic-like symptoms, but tests were inconclusive, zoo officials said.

The zoo will release the necropsy results once they are available in a few weeks.

Hansa was born Nov. 3, 2000, the first elephant born in the state. Her mother, Chai, had mated with an elephant at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Mo.

Almost immediately after her birth, Hansa (whose name means "supreme happiness" in Thailand, Chai's birthplace) became a local celebrity, with the zoo marking her birthdays and weight milestones.

"We will all miss her," said Dr. Deborah Jensen, the zoo's president and CEO, of Hansa. "We are a family here, and we will provide as much support and comfort possible during this difficult time."

In honor of Hansa, the Woodland Park Zoo is presenting an $8,500 check to the Kinabatangan Elephant Conservation Unit in Borneo, and it has earmarked all unspecified zoo donations made this week to elephant conservation and research.

The zoo has set up an area for visitors' memorials for Hansa along a wall outside the zoo's South Entrance, at North 50th Street and Fremont Avenue North. Also, the zoo has posted a memorial web page at www.zoo.org/hansa_memorial/index.html.[[In-content Ad]]