Irma: The Legacy of The Netherlands’ Oldest Elephant
A Farewell to Irma
Diergaarde Blijdorp, a well-known zoo in the Netherlands, recently bid farewell to its oldest elephant, Irma. At the age of 53, Irma ended her journey on this earth, leaving a significant legacy behind. Irma’s health had been deteriorating rapidly over the past few weeks, leading to the hard but necessary decision to euthanize her. Following her departure, Irma’s body was transferred to Utrecht University for examination.
Irma’s Remarkable Journey
Born on September 18, 1970, in a Copenhagen zoo in Denmark, Irma was just five years old when she moved to Blijdorp. Throughout her life, Irma achieved several milestones that made her a prominent figure in the animal community. In 1984, she became the first elephant to give birth in a Dutch zoo, a noteworthy event that garnered considerable attention. Fast forward to 2014, Irma made headlines globally by becoming a great-grandmother. Over her lifetime, Irma gave birth to six offspring, who further blessed her with fourteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Health Struggles and the Decision to Euthanize
In recent years, Irma faced several health issues that significantly impacted her quality of life. She had been losing weight and showed signs of being very withdrawn. Moreover, she lost large parts of her molars, making it challenging for her to consume food. Upon consultation with the veterinarians and considering her deteriorating health and the difficulties she was experiencing, the decision was taken to euthanize Irma, marking the end of an era.
Despite her departure, Irma’s legacy continues to thrive in the Blijdorp zoo. Four elephants from Irma’s lineage still reside in Blijdorp, with her daughter, Bangka, now leading the herd. A spokesperson from Blijdorp noted that the average lifespan of an elephant is between fifty and sixty years, making Irma’s age of 53 quite respectable. Her contributions to the elephant herd in Rotterdam and her pioneering role as a mother and great-grandmother in the Dutch zoo community will always be remembered.
The passing of Irma, the oldest elephant in the Netherlands, marks the end of a significant chapter in the history of Diergaarde Blijdorp. As the first elephant to give birth in a Dutch zoo and later a great-grandmother, Irma’s contributions to the zoo and the wider animal community were notable. Despite facing health issues in her later years, Irma lived a full life, leaving a lasting legacy through her extensive family residing in Blijdorp. As we bid farewell to this remarkable elephant, her story serves as a testament to the fascinating lives these majestic creatures lead and the importance of preserving and caring for them.
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