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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Zoo has announced the death of the matriarch of the Zoo’s “Golden Girls,” it’s oldest female elephant ‘Mama.’

‘Mama’ was a 45-years old African elephant, the oldest of the Zoo’s five-member geriatric female herd. In recent weeks, her health had declined, and her care evolved to hospice-style efforts designed to keep her comfortable.

“Mama’s longevity and excellent quality of life are a testament to the loving care and expertise of our elephant keepers and veterinary team,” said Gregg Hudson, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Zoo.

Zoo officials say ‘Mama’ was born January 1970 and came to Dallas in 2010.

In a release of the Zoo, officials say that after Mama died, the other elephants in the herd, Gypsy, Jenny, Congo and Kamba, were given time to say goodbye, during which they gently touched her face with their trunks and trumpeted softly.

According to the Zoo, ‘Mama’ lived more than seven years past the 38-year median life expectancy for a female African elephant in human care, and she was one of the 10 oldest elephants in the United States.

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