‘Iconic’ elephant ‘becomes the latest victim of Venezuela’s economic crisis’ after she collapses and dies at Caracas zoo ‘due to lack of food’
- Ruperta the elephant died aged 48 after collapsing looking frail and underfed
- She was a symbol of Venezuela’s hyperinflation crisis that has caused hunger
- Experts said last year elephants in captive should live until ’65 or 70′ years old
- But one minister said Ruperta was fortunate to live past 17 years of age
- Social media expressed deep regret over the death of the adored elephant
An elephant at a zoo in Venezuela is believed to have starved to death after years of not being fed properly.
Photos of a gaunt Ruperta have been released as she was confirmed dead aged 48 after collapsing at Caracas zoo.
The elephant has become a symbol of Venezuela’s deepening economic woes.
Ruperta the elephant, seen here getting medical attention, has died after collapsing in captive
The ‘iconic’ elephant looked frail for years amid claims of being underfed by Caracas zoo
Venezuela’s economic turmoil has been blamed for Ruperta’ looking severely malnourished
There was widespread outcry from those who had followed Ruperta’s well-documented case.
Animal rights groups claim she was a victim of a lack of food for zoo animals in Venezuela.
Actor Raul Julia Levy said: ‘Ruperta broke her skull and needed the level of care that Venezuelan authorities could not give her.’
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He added that her weakness was caused by a lack of food.
A number of memes spread across Twitter after news emerged Ruperta had died.
Caricature artists Edoilustrado tweeted: ‘Ruperta’s passing also signifies the death of this country.’
But authorities maintain it was ‘just her time’.
Edoilustrado tweeted: ‘Ruperta’s passing also signifies the death of this country’
‘Rest in peace Ruperta, and please forgive us’
Minister Ramon Velasquez said: ‘We regret Ruperta’s death, she was an icon of Caricuao Zoo.’
Velasquez added that captive animals usually live around 17 years while Ruperta reached 48 years.
Her damning situation was first brought to attention last year when it was revealed Caricuao Zoo refused to accept food or monetary donations.
Venezuela’s Environment Ministry said that elephants could live ‘until they are 65 or 70’ and Ruperta ‘could be considered to be aging prematurely.’
50 animals had died in the zoo in similar circumstances.
Authorities were investigating the theft of numerous zoo animals that many believe were being killed for food as hyperinflation continues to affect Venezuela.
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