Oldest Elephant At Tennessee Sanctuary Turns 70

Posted at 8:14 AM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 10:04:28-04

This is a birthday to remember: Shirley the Asian elephant turned 70 Friday at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. 

The elephant's milestone is significant: The average lifespan is 42 years for captive Asian pachyderms and 47 for captive African elephants.

Caregiver Kaitlin Stocks said the 4-ton (3.6-metric-ton) elephant exudes love despite the tough life she has led.

Shirley was born in Sumatra, captured at age 5 and sold to a traveling circus where she performed for more than 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.