Tayside and Central Scotland

Blair Drummond Safari Park elephant Toto dies aged 46

Toto Image copyright Blair Drummond Safari Park
Image caption Toto came to the park in 1997 from Basel Zoo in Switzerland

An elephant that inspired artists and children's books has been put to sleep after she collapsed at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Keepers unsuccessfully tried to help 46-year-old Toto to her feet after she fell ill in her pen on Monday.

The park said the "difficult decision" to euthanise the elephant was made to "avoid continued stress and suffering" after an examination by its vets.

Toto came to the park in 1997 from Basel Zoo in Switzerland.

A statement on the safari park's website said: "Over the years our elephant team have worked tirelessly improving the welfare standards of our elephants ensuring they receive the best daily care particularly during the later stages of their lives.

"Her keepers are devastated but they all understand that this was the last option and necessary and most humane course of action to take."

Keeper Ailsa West said the elephant would be "sorely missed by us all".

She said: "Toto was a magnificent and beautiful sentient being.

"We all feel privileged to have spent the years that we have with her, watching her grow in confidence in her new environment."

In 2013, local author Douglas Jackson observed Toto to create a character for two books centred around an elephant keeper and his animal in ancient Rome.

Last year, Scottish artist Stephanie McKenzie produced a portrait of Toto as part of a commission to paint some of Blair Drummond's favourite animals.

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