The death of Perth Zoo triarch Trisha, the oldest elephant in Australasia, mourned the entire state.
The entire state of Western Australia mourns the death of the triarch of the Perth Zoo, the Asian elephant Trisha. She was 65 years old.
Trisha was the oldest elephant in Australasia and was considered one of the oldest in the world.
It was revealed this week that the “sassy” icon was battling “age-related complications” including poor sleep and mobility issues.
She died in her rooming house on Wednesday, surrounded by zoo staff, some of whom have cared for her for nearly two decades.
Two other elephants also live at the Perth Zoo – female Permai and male Putra Mas – and it is understood that Permai refused to leave Trisha for some time after her death.
“Like humans, elephants have a grieving process and the loss of Trisha will be hard on her elephant family,” the Perth Zoo said in a social media post.
It is understood that the zoo is now working with the Western Australian Museum to find the best way to honor Trisha, who came to Perth from Vietnam in January 1963. There are also reportedly plans for a permanent memorial.
There is already a ferry named after Trisha, who herself was named after the Miss Australia winner.
In a social media post, the Perth Zoo said Trisha will forever be in their hearts.
“While we knew the time to say goodbye was fast approaching, the heart is still breaking,” the zoo wrote.
“She was cocky and liked to sneak up on people when she walked around the zoo, and everyone surrounded her trunk.
“Trisha has been an icon of Western Australia and her impact on the millions who have visited her over the years will certainly not be forgotten.
“Since her arrival at the Perth Zoo in 1963, she has helped generations develop respect for elephants and wildlife conservation.”
Senior Elephant Keeper Steve Edmunds, who has been caring for Trisha since 2001, said it would be inappropriate to say it was “an honor and a privilege” to know her.
“It was a good 12 months before she accepted me and trusted me…in her later years, she was the most gentle and trustworthy elephant, not only to her caretakers, but to every person she met,” he said.
“Trisha was a very playful and loud elephant to her caretakers. She knew we loved it and she pretty much wrapped us all around her little suitcase.
“Trisha interacted with people more than any animal I have ever known. She had a sound that we recognized as her whining.
“If we did not listen to her whining, she did not hesitate to throw sand, water or even sticks at us to remind us that she was talking to us.
“She also had a sound that we called her laugh.
“She brought it when she sneaked up and scared us, when she whipped us with her tail, when we passed her, if we fell or some small troubles happened, or even when we joked. and laugh among ourselves. Trisha will laugh together.”
Prime Minister Mark McGowan said Trisha’s last moments were peaceful.
“Trisha was not only famous, she was very much loved,” the statement said.
“Her height and grace were irresistible. For many, she was an icon of Perth. For six decades, it has been an integral part of any visit to the Perth Zoo.
“If you lived in Perth at some point in your life, you probably remember Trisha.
“I want to acknowledge and thank all the staff at the Perth Zoo who humanely cared for Trisha, especially during her rapidly declining health.
“Trisha has brought such joy to so many people, so it was important that she be treated with love, dignity and respect in her final moments.”
Thousands of memories of the beloved elephant have been posted on social media, including from Perth-raised comedian and television presenter Rove McManus.
“I am so sad to hear of the passing of @perthzoo’s matriarch Trisha the elephant. At 65, she left so many wonderful memories for generations to come,” he wrote.
“My mom told me how she remembers being able to ride on Trisha’s back. I’ve had too many special encounters since I first saw Trisha on a school field trip in 4th grade to even begin to mention, and she was the first living elephant my daughter saw, and it struck her impressionable young mind.
“It just shows the strong connection we can have with animals and wildlife in general. I convey my best thoughts and wishes to all the zoo staff after this heartbreaking loss.”
In lieu of flowers, the Perth Zoo asked for donations to the Tricia Tribute to Conservation Fund, which was set up to support the zoo’s conservation efforts and the construction of an elephant conservation post in the Bukit Tigapuluh ecosystem in Sumatra on behalf of Tricia.
This will help conservationists control and protect one of the last remaining wild herds of Sumatran elephants.
A special memorial walk will also open at the Perth Zoo on Sunday, giving the community a chance to pay their respects and learn more about Trisha’s impact as a conservation ambassador.
Fifty percent of all ticket sales on Sunday will also go directly to Trisha’s fund.
The zoo had previously noted that after Trisha’s death, the other two elephants would be moved to more open range zoos.
But this will not happen immediately, as the zoo will need to find suitable homes for the elephants.