Opal, an elephant with ties deep to Hope, dies

Fri, 01/20/2017 - 11:15am

    Opal, an elephant with a huge, gracious heart and sense of humor, died Jan. 10, in Hugo, Oklahoma, from injuries she suffered almost a month earlier. She lived at the Endangered Ark Foundation with other circus elephants, and her death was reported on Facebook Jan. 20.

    Midcoast Maine knew Opal well. She was Rosie’s best friend, and came to live in Hope in 2012 for two years at Hope Elephants, with their old friend, Jim Laurita. Rosie and Opal were well-loved in Maine, and visited often by the Midcoast and broader community. 

    According to a Facebook post from the Endangered Ark Foundation, Opal, who was 48, “succumbed to her injury on the 10th of January, 2017. Despite intensive veterinarian and staff care, the injury to Opal’s leg did not improve and her rapid decline in quality of life moved us to make the only humane decision possible. The decision was very difficult, but we could not allow her to continue to suffer with no hope of recovery.”

    That injury occurred in December when Opal got hurt playing in her sand pile, according to the foundation.

    Opal’s injury limited her movement, and her caretakers were hoping she would pull through. they said, in a Facebook post.

    “Opal was named after the founder Isla Miller’s sister, Opal, and has been a part of our family for more than 45 years. Opal was a wonderful ambassador for Asian elephants everywhere and she charmed all who met her. She will always hold a special place in our hearts and will be forever loved. 

    “Her dear companion, Rosie, along with all of the elephants are feeling the loss of Opal. Regardless of what species, it is always difficult to lose a member of the family. Thank you for the kind words you shared with us for Opal during this difficult time. Your thoughts and prayers have meant much to our elephant support team members…as did your love and friendship mean so very much to Opal, as well.”


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    Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657