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May 29, 2017

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Oldest Asian elephant dies at age 86 at zoo

The China Post staff

Grandpa Lin Wang, the world's oldest Asian elephant in captivity died in Taipei yesterday. He was 86.

The old pachyderm was found dead in his pen pond at the Taipei City Zoo at Mucha at 200 a.m.

"He died in dignity from extreme weakness due to old age," a zoo spokesman said.

Lin Hua-ching said the grand old elephant, brought here by former Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Army Sun Li-jen in 1947, showed signs of frailty after the Chinese New Year holiday early this month.

Lin Wang (Forest Prosperity) started moving slowly and eating less, Lin said. The octogenarian had been lying in his pond — affectionately called the White House by zoo staff — since last Friday.

The elephant keeper said that everybody in the zoo knew the grand old daddy was dying, but was saddened by his surprise surmise.

"But," Lin said, "we found a bit of solace from Lin Wang's dignified way of passing."

The city zoo pitched a tent near the pond to perform an autopsy on Lin Wang to find the cause of death. A postmortem report showed he died from heart-lung failures.

Lin said the zoo plans to send Lin Wang's body to a taxidermist. The skeleton will go on display after it is reconstructed.

The whole undertaking requires around NT$5 million.

"We hope local businesses will contribute to the project," Lin said.

Lin Wang's extraordinary story began in 1943 when General Sun, while a division commander fighting in Burma during the Second World War, obtained him from Japanese prisoners of war his troops had taken.

The elephant 26 years old then. He was brought to Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan in 1947 and given to the Taipei City Zoo seven years later.

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