Maxine, a 48-year-old Asian elephant at the Bronx Zoo, was euthanized today after a progressive illness. Maxine was being treated for elevated liver and kidney enzymes and had experienced neurologic deterioration and generalized muscle weakness. The decision to euthanize her today was made when she was no longer able to eat. 

The zoo has two remaining elephants, Happy, 47; and Patty, 48. 

Said Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and EVP of Zoos & Aquarium at the Wildlife Conservation Society: 

“Everyone at the Bronx Zoo is deeply saddened by the loss of Maxine. Some of us have known and worked with her for over 40 years as she came to the zoo in 1973. We have great memories of Maxine; she was a wonderful animal with a great personality. She was loved by those who cared for her each day as well as the millions of visitors she inspired in over four decades at the Bronx Zoo. This was a really difficult day for all of us at the zoo. Caring for animals is a great privilege and a great responsibility; we made a commitment to provide the best care for Maxine 45 years ago and today we met our final obligation to her.

“After exhausting all options to treat Maxine and since she was no longer able to eat, we made the decision to euthanize her. She died a peaceful death, surrounded by the keepers, curators and veterinarians who had cared for her throughout her life. And afterwards, we gave Patty, who had lived with Max since they both arrived at the Bronx Zoo, the chance to spend time with her and understand what had happened to her friend. 

“We spent today with Patty and Happy monitoring their behavior and reaction to Maxine’s death. They seem to be coping well with the situation. We will continue to watch them closely.  

“With the death of Maxine, we will assess our elephant program. The plan we develop for our elephants moving forward will be based on our expertise in elephant behavior and husbandry, veterinary evaluation — and, most of all, on an intimate, in-depth understanding of our individual animals and their needs.”


About the Bronx Zoo: The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium. Our curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species. We have educated and inspired more than 400 million visitors at our zoos and aquarium since our opening and host approximately 4 million guests at our parks each year – including about a half-million students annually. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the borough of the Bronx, providing opportunity and helping to transform lives in one of the most under-served communities in the nation. The Bronx Zoo is the subject of THE ZOO, a docu-series aired world-wide on Animal Planet. Members of the media should contact (718-220-5182) or (347-840-1242) for more information or with questions.