Zoo's oldest elephant dies

An elephant that's lived at Chester Zoo since the 1960's has died.

56 year old Sheba was the oldest elephant at the attraction and was put down on Wednesday after a short illness.

Chester Zoo has paid tribute saying Sheba was really popular with all the visitors.

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Director General of Chester Zoo, said:

"The death of an animal is always hard, nevermore so than for everyone who has been involved in looking after it every day and Sheba's death is a huge loss to all who cared for her.

"Sheba had a long and happy life with us; she had a strong personality - intelligent and sometimes stubborn - and she thought the elephant section belonged just to her.  She was a good elephant with a will of her own. Sheba had a way with the other elephants too and was able to keep the others in line.

"I have no doubt the elephants will miss her too - Sheba adopted and raised our male Upali from when he first came to us, and they had a particularly close bond.

"Sheba will be missed by all of us here and the visitors with whom she was a particular favourite. This is a sad day for all concerned and I would like to thank all those who worked so hard to help her towards the end."