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Oldest elephant at Tennessee sanctuary turning 70

Posted: 10:27 AM, Jul 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-05 11:27:38-04

HOHENWALD, Tenn. (AP) – The oldest elephant at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is turning 70.
  
News outlets report Shirley’s birthday is Friday. The Asian elephant’s milestone is significant as the average lifespan of captive ones is 42 years for Asians and 47 for Africans. Five of the 11 elephants living at the sanctuary are 50 or older.
  
Caregiver Kaitlin Stocks told The Tennessean the four-ton elephant emanates love despite her experiences.
  
Shirley was born in Sumatra, captured at age 5 and sold to a traveling circus where she performed for over 20 years. She lived at a Louisiana zoo for 22 years before coming to Tennessee.
  
The sanctuary is celebrating Shirley’s birthday with #ShirleyTurns70 on social media and an elephant-sized snack – a number 70 made of bamboo strung with flowers and produce.