Rama the Oregon Zoo elephant dies

Rama died two days short of his 32nd birthday

Rama, one of the Oregon Zoo's male asian elephants, on exhibit, undated. (Oregon Zoo)
Rama, one of the Oregon Zoo's male asian elephants, on exhibit, undated. (Oregon Zoo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rama, an elephant known for his sweet disposition at the Oregon Zoo, died Monday, two days short of his 32nd birthday.

Zoo officials announced Rama was euthanized due to the effects of a decades-old leg injury that limited his mobility and kept him in pain.

He suffered the injury in 1990 when he fell into a moat surrounding the elephant area when he was pushed out by older female elephants. The injury was very serious, but he recovered.

However, the pain was too great for the 8000-pound elephant and zookeepers could no longer help him. Rama was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 2013 – the same disease affecting his father, Packy — but that was not a cause in his death.

“We knew Rama’s injury would catch up with him someday, but it still doesn’t make the loss any easier,” said zoo elephant curator Bob Lee said in a statement. “This is a sad day for everyone at the zoo.”

Rama was also known for his Jackson Pollack-like paintings, which was often displayed at the zoo and at Mark Woolley Gallery in Portland’s Pearl District.

Bullcasso, 48" by 72" tempera on canvas, painted by Rama the asian elephant on July 13, 2005
Bullcasso, 48″ by 72″ tempera on canvas, painted by Rama the asian elephant on July 13, 2005

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