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3 elephants at Saint Louis Zoo turned 50 this year

At 50 years old, the “Golden Girls” are considered geriatric and may require special medical care

ST. LOUIS — The Saint Louis Zoo celebrated a major milestone for three of its elderly Asian elephants this year.

Pearl, Donna and Ellie all turned 50 years old. The median life expectancy for female Asian elephants under human care is 47.5 years, the zoo said in a press release.

At 50 years old, the “Golden Girls” are considered geriatric and may require medical care specialized for their needs as they get older.

Some of the care the zoo provides for these Golden Girls includes daily exercises focused on stretching, in-depth health checkups and specialized nail and dental care. 

The elephant care team also takes preventative measures to ensure the elephants are comfortable and safe like conditioning the soil so it's softer for them to walk on, the release stated.

RELATED: Saint Louis Zoo hosts virtual celebration for Raja the elephant's 28th birthday

About the elephants

Pearl was the first female elephant to give birth at the zoo. She is the mother of Raja and grandmother of Maliha, Jade and Priya. The zoo said she loves challenging puzzles and special treats.

Credit: Saint Louis Zoo

Donna has "distinctive, flappy ears that are always moving." The zoo said she is conversational and enjoys making sounds with her trunk on various objects. She used to “spar” with Raja when he was younger but now helps teach his kids manners like sharing food and respecting elders.

Credit: Saint Louis Zoo

Ellie is a mother of three and grandmother of the zoo’s tallest female elephant. The zoo said she has a calm demeanor and “does life on her own schedule.” She likes pruning trees and “chilling” in one of the pools under the waterfall.

Credit: Saint Louis Zoo