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Group Wants Zoo to Shut Down Elephant Exhibit

By Associated Press

Birmingham, AL – An animal protection group said today the Birmingham Zoo should shut down the pen where an elderly Asian elephant named Mona lived alone before being euthanized because of poor health.

Believed to be the oldest elephant in captivity at an accredited U-S zoo, Mona was put to sleep by a lethal injection Thursday. She was unable to stand without the help of a crane on Monday.

Zoo spokeswoman Katrina Cade said no decision had been made on whether to get a new elephant or to permanently close Mona's home.

The pachyderm lived in an indoor/outdoor enclosure that was roughly the size of two basketball courts. She had been alone since another elephant died two years ago.

Mona was believed to be pushing 60 years old, but her exact age was uncertain.

Earlier this year, a group called In Defense of Animals placed the Birmingham Zoo atop its list of the 10 worst U-S zoos for elephants because of Mona's living conditions.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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