Dulary, 50 Year-old Female Asian Elephant Passes Away

Hohenwald, Tenn. – December 23, 2013 – It is with great sadness that The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and the Philadelphia Zoo announce the passing of Dulary, an Asian elephant that resided at the zoo from 1964 until her move to The Sanctuary in 2007. At the beginning of this year, Dulary began experiencing some intermittent health issues. The Sanctuary’s elephant care and vet staff administered a treatment plan that included multiple medications and even an elephant “corset” crafted especially for Dulary out of burlap coffee bags. Soon she was feeling much better, and we happily celebrated her 50th birthday in May. Although Dulary continued to experience some health issues, she had been active and had a good appetite in recent months.

Dulary was discovered lying down in the barn early Sunday morning. There had been no indication of any problems during the previous evening when caregivers checked in on the elephants in the Asian barn. All elephant care and vet staff were immediately alerted and quickly reported to the barn. Efforts to help Dulary stand were unsuccessful, and she was given supportive care while further diagnostic testing was performed. Philadelphia Zoo veterinary staff was consulted on Dulary’s condition, and Sanctuary staff provided round the clock monitoring throughout the night. Dulary passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by those who loved her. Sanctuary staff then left the area and Dulary’s companions, including her best friend Misty, were allowed in to be with her.

Born in 1963, Dulary made the Philadelphia Zoo home in 1964. During her time at the zoo, she lived with both Asian and African elephants. The Philadelphia Zoo announced plans to relocate its elephants in 2006 after determining there was insufficient funding to build a new elephant habitat suitable for housing an expanded herd. Working closely with the AZA’s Elephant Taxon Advisory Group to evaluate several options, the Zoo decided on Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center for the African elephants Bette and Kallie. The Zoo’s Asian elephant, Dulary, was relocated to The Elephant Sanctuary.

She arrived on May 1st, 2007.

Dulary easily assimilated into Sanctuary life, and after only two days of exploring her new home and meeting new companions, she comfortably lay down to take a nap, with Misty diligently watching over her as she slept. Dulary, Misty and Delhi became an inseparable group, and she and Misty provided comfort to each other upon Delhi’s passing one year later. Misty and Dulary remained the closest of friends, rarely spending time apart, until Dulary’s passing.

In India, “Dulary” is a term of endearment intended for someone who is an object of great affection and love, and our Dulary will always hold a special place in our hearts. Strong-willed and self-confident, she was a treasured member of the Philadelphia Zoo community and The Elephant Sanctuary family, and she lived her life to the fullest every day. She will be remembered with joy by all of those whose lives she touched. We are honored to have been a part of her journey.

Namaste, sweet Dulary

About The Elephant Sanctuary:

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation founded in 1995. For the past 17 years it has provided sanctuary to 24 elephants and garnered support from more than 100,000 members.  The Sanctuary operates on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tenn., about 85 miles southwest of Nashville, and has a staff of 30 with 13 current elephant residents. The Elephant Sanctuary operates as a true sanctuary and therefore is not open to the public, but does provide an Elecam on their website where visitors can watch live images of the elephants enjoying their natural habitat.  For more information, please visit or call 931-796-6500.


America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to more than 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.