Santa Barbara Zoo's elderly elephant Little Mac euthanized, donations can be made in her name

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The Santa Barbara Zoo's 48-year-old Asian elephant, Little Mac, has been euthanized after a sharp decline in her health.

The zoo says Little Mac was euthanized Wednesday night in her exhibit yard, surrounded by keepers and staff. The elephant has been in hospice care recently, stemming from intermittent gastrointestinal issues since a bout of colic in mid-June, the zoo staff said.  

Little Mac came to the zoo from India in 1972 with another female Asian elephant, Sujatha, who was euthanized last year.

Little Mac was named by Herb Peterson, the owner of several local McDonald's restaurants who paid for the airline flight. At the time she was a 1½-year-old, 4-foot-tall apparent orphan.

Her death marks the end of the Santa Barbara Zoo's elephant program.

Donations in Little Mac's memory can be made to the International Elephant Foundation
or to the Zoo's Toys4Animals Amazon Wish List. Gifts of organic, pesticide-free tree trimmings and branches are also welcome. 

KTVU contributed to this report.