Scotland’s second last elephant ‘gentle giant’ Toto dies aged 47

Toto is the second last elephant left in Scotland. Picture: Blair Drummond
Toto is the second last elephant left in Scotland. Picture: Blair Drummond
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ONE of Scotland’s last two elephants has been put down after collapsing in her pen.

Blair Drummond Safari Park announced the death of 47-year-old Toto on Monday, prompting a flood of tributes from park visitors.

Toto passed away, aged 46. Picture: Blair Drummond

Toto passed away, aged 46. Picture: Blair Drummond

Her death leaves Blair Drummond with one elephant, Mondula, a male African elephant.

Toto arrived at the park from Basel Zoo in 1997 and immediately became a firm favourite among both visitors and staff. Mondula arrived from Erfurt Zoo in Germany the same year. Blair Drummond’s third elephant, a female called Estrella, died, aged 49 in 2013.

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On Monday, parts of the elephant enclosure were closed off to the public while staff assessed Toto. After failed attempts to get her back on her feet, park vets decided to euthanise Toto to prevent her from any further suffering.

Visitors told how keepers who tried to raise the “gentle giant” were in tears as vets made the decision to euthanise her, “to avoid continued stress and suffering”.

Numerous messages have been posted online criticising Blair Drummond for housing elephants in the first place.

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A Blair Drummond spokesman said: “There will always be people criticising that animals are in the parks but you just have to look at all the lovely responses on the post about Toto.

“The negative response is not much compared to all the good ones.”

“Her keepers are devastated but they all understand that this was the last option and necessary and most humane course of action to take.”

Toto was rescued from the wild, where many of her kind were being hunted by poachers, and spent 15 years at Munster zoo before moving to Basel and then Blair Drummond, where she settled down.

Keeper Ailsa West revealed: “Toto was a magnificent and beautiful sentient being.

“We all feel privileged to have spent the years that we have with her, watching her grow in confidence in her new environment. She will be sorely missed by us all.”

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