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Phoenix Zoo's Asian elephant Sheena passes away

elephant eating a melon
Lauren Gilger/KJZZ
Elephant keeper Heather Wright gives Sheena the elephant a honeydew melon.

Sheena, the Phoenix Zoo’s 50-year-old Asian elephant, passed away Monday morning.

She passed away from natural causes but has dealt with chronic osteoarthritis and gastrointestinal issues for many years.

She came from the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation in 2000 and has been with the Phoenix Zoo since then.

The average lifespan for Asian elephants is 45 years old.

Reyna Preciado started her internship with KJZZ in August 2021. She is a senior at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, focusing on community-related stories.She previously had been pursuing a major in biochemistry, but switched directions after becoming a server. During her time serving, she found that so many people had stories to share and so many voices deserved to be heard.She loved to write in her AP English classes in high school, so she made the decision to use her writing and communication skills to major in broadcast journalism. It was always a dream of hers to become a news anchor after being cast as an anchor in a fourth-grade newscast. It was silly, but it stuck with her, and she was eager to follow her dream when she was finally inspired to change directions. Now, she continues being inspired by the many voices within her community that have been waiting for an opportunity to be able to address what's important to them.When she is not working on a story, she likes to cook, sing and hang out with her crazy toddler.