New York State Zoo at Thompson Park announces the passing of a Roosevelt Elk

WATERTOWN, NY —The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is saddened
to announce the passing of their eldest female Roosevelt Elk, Rosie. Rosie passed away peacefully on Aug. 3 while under zookeeper and veterinary care. After careful consideration by zookeepers, Zoo CEO and Executive Director, and veterinarians, it was decided that humane euthanasia would be best for Rosie due to her extremely old age and deteriorating health.

Rosie was born in Syracuse, New York at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on June 3, 1992. She was gifted to the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park a year later and has remained here since.

She has mothered many calves during her time here, including Aspen, a male elk who currently resides at the zoo.

Rosie was suspected to be one of the oldest living elk in the world, according to international zoological databases. The average lifespan of an elk is 13 years; however, Rosie lived double that at 26 years. Although her health was recently declining, she spent the past year as the alpha female of the herd.

“Rosie’s quality of life had significantly declined in the past few months and it became obvious that her old age was impeding her ability to live a full life,” said Larry Sorel, Zoo CEO and Executive Director. “Rosie will be greatly missed. Her life was symbolic of our great conservation efforts, as well as the amazing work of the zookeepers here. We are proud to have had her in our care.”