Tricia, a large, stunning elephant who was believed to be among the oldest in the world, passed away at the age of 65, bringing an end to an era for Perth Zoo.
She was one of the oldest elephants in the world and the oldest elephant ever kept in a zoo in Australasia.
Tricia, an ancient Asian elephant, has been under the care of veterinarians and her keepers at the zoo for many years, receiving treatment and care for "various age-related ailments," but over the previous week, her condition deteriorated quickly.
Tricia was honored by Premier Mark McGowan, who noted that she was well-known to families in Western Australia.
He stated on social media that "her stature and grace were fascinating, and for sixty years she was a vital part of any visit to Perth Zoo."
Tricia passed away earlier this evening, and she is finally at peace.
He claimed that Tricia had been treated humanely by Perth Zoo employees, who had made sure she was as comfortable as possible in her last moments.
He claimed that they had treated her with the respect, love, and decency that she deserved.
Tricia made so many families happy, and everyone who met her will always remember her.
Reece Whitby, the WA environment minister, also paid homage to Tricia, describing her as "an icon forever in our hearts" and leaving behind countless memories.
From Vietnam to Australia
Tricia traveled from Ho Chi Minh City, then Saigon, via Singapore, and she landed in Perth in January 1963.
Kirsty Carey, a senior elephant keeper at the Perth Zoo, stated in 2017 that Tricia's tale reflected a shifting culture.
"Tricia has lived through an era when zoos were a random collection of animals kept for human enjoyment," she said.
"Many of our older visitors remember Tricia residing in a concrete enclosure and that she was named after Miss Australia 1962, Tricia Reschke, evoking the popularity of beauty pageants at the time."
With numerous keepers devoted to her care, Tricia's enclosure evolved over time into one with a swimming pool, trees, a mud wallow, scratching poles, a heated barn, and sleeping mounds.
In 1992, Putra Mas, Permai, and Teduh, three juvenile elephants from Malaysia, joined her.
Teduh went away in 2007, however Perth Zoo still houses Putra Mas and Permai.
An "added great present" each day
Many zoo visitors recall seeing Tricia on one of her strolls, and throngs would assemble to celebrate the pachyderm's birthdays while they watched her eat specially made frozen bran and fruit cakes.
After Tricia's 65th birthday festivities in January, Ms. Carey stated that the elephant had outlived the typical lifespan of an Asian elephant and that every day spent with her was "an extra special gift."
We anticipated the day when she would slow down and favor a peaceful life, and that time has come, she added.
"It's her decision whether she wants to get up early or not, and she's not required to interact with the public."
Tricia was the last Asian elephant in Australasia in its 60s, after the death of Saigon earlier this year at Sydney Zoo.
The future of Perth Zoo's elephants
When Perth Zoo celebrated its 120th birthday in 2018, the state government flagged change would come after Tricia's death.
Putra Mas and Permai will be relocated to other Australasian zoos where they will live in a herd environment.
Stephen Dawson, the environment minister at the time, advised the duo to move on.
"South Perth metropolitan has a modest footprint for Perth Zoo," he said.
"While we are dedicated to giving the animals in our care the finest care possible, on this site we are unable to build an elephant display large enough to house a functioning herd made up of various animals.
The elephants at the Perth Zoo are currently content and healthy, but when Tricia passes away, the elephants will be in a better position to join a larger herd, which we are unable to do at a small urban zoo.
The zoo has undergone tremendous change during the previous 120 years, according to Mr. Dawson, and it was time for another transformation.
Perth Zoo has requested that instead of sending flowers, the community donate money to the Tricia Tribute to Conservation Fund, which has been set up to erect an elephant guard post in Tricia's honor in Sumatra.
The money will aid in the monitoring and defense of one of the last wild groups of Sumatran elephants.
This Sunday, July 10th, a unique memorial walk will also be made available to the public at Perth Zoo, offering the public a chance to pay their respects.