TORONTO -- Canada's oldest elephant, Limba, was euthanized early Tuesday at the Bowmanville Zoo east of Toronto.
"It was a very tough decision, but the only humane one we could make," zoo director Michael Hackenberger said. "There was no hope."
It is believed Limba, an Asian elephant, had been suffering from cancer, he said. Following chronic digestion issues, veterinarians discovered a mass in her abdomen in October and a follow-up uncovered a tumour on her spleen.
Limba's keeper, Robert Crawford, had been sleeping with her in the elephant barn at the zoo since she fell ill.
She was put down at 12:35 a.m. Tuesday.
"The staff here are bereft," Hackenberger said. "Everyone is heartbroken. Elephants teach us there are greater beings than ourselves.
He said she was somewhere between the age of 50 and 53 years old. The pacyderm was born in Vietman and raised in captivity in Quebec. She moved to the Bowmanville Zoo in 1989.