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Buffalo Zoo's Asian Elephant "Buki" Dies

Buffalo Zoo Photo

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – One of the oldest of three Asian elephants at the Buffalo Zoo died earlier Monday. Buki came to the Zoo in 1984 after retiring from the circus.

Click the audio player above to hear Eileen Buckley's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

Buki recently experienced a reduction in appetite, leading to significant weight loss. The Zoo says results of all medical tests showed a change in her kidney function.

The Zoo's veterinary staff consulted with elephant experts in the United States and Canada. They administered medication to improve her digestion, alleviate discomfort and reduce the likelihood of secondary infections.

After the Zoo recently revealed the elephants condition, hundreds of get well wishes poured in from the community. Keepers read the cards to Buki each morning.

Stats on Buki: Born in the wild in her native Thailand, the earliest known records show she was brought to the United States in 1959, where she became a member of the King Bros. Circus. In 1961, Buki, known as "Sheba" during her days in the circus, began performing with several other elephants in the Cristiani-Wallace Circus, run by Pete Cristiani. She remained there until 1963 when Remo Cristiani added her as a member of his circus. Buki retired from the circus world in 1984.That's when she came to the Buffalo Zoo.

In August of 2007 Buki celebrated her 50th birthday at the Buffalo Zoo. WBFO's Eileen Buckley reported on Buki's life at the Zoon in 2007.