Do Zoos Have Cemeteries?
November 15, 2004 5:58 PM   Subscribe

Do zoos generally have cemeteries, or is there an accepted means of animal disposal? An elephant is very large.
posted by plexi to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
I was under the impression that one was supposed to bury an elephant where it falls. I believe I saw something somewhere on that site regarding what zoos do.
posted by ktrey at 6:34 PM on November 15, 2004

The South East Asian Zoos Association has specific provisions for what to do with dead zoo animals which includes the following "Unless the remains of a dead animal are to be used for scientific or educational purposes; or are offered to and accepted by, an approved museum or other approved scientific establishment, they must be disposed off by incineration and if incineration is not possible by any other method adopted on veterinary advice."

There doesn't seem to be -- upon cursory inspection -- any standard procedures. Most seem to be autopsied. Some are sent to taxidermists. Here's an article that specifically deals with how zoos handle dead elephants. San Diego Zoo buries them on site. San Francisco Zoo incinerates/cremates them. Here's St Louis Zoo's plan for dead zoo animals. Apparently not all zoos treat their dead animals as carefully. Here is another burying an elephant story.
posted by jessamyn at 6:39 PM on November 15, 2004

It's the aquariums that have the real trouble.
posted by waldo at 6:12 AM on November 16, 2004

our university museum benefits from a local zoo - all the dead critters tend to end up as teaching specimens. much better to collect a tiger skull from a zoo than to go out in the wild and shoot one, right?
posted by caution live frogs at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2004

The National Zoo in Washington DC is said to have a large crematorium for the disposal of the passed... At one point, the theory was floated that the body of Chandra Levy had been disposed of therein.
posted by sfz at 10:11 AM on November 16, 2004

Mike the gorilla, who was a friend of Koko, was sent to UC Santa Cruz on his passing, where there's a great primate lab. I believe the animators who made Disney's Tarzan used his dissected musculature to model their gorillas -- they definitely came to UCSC to learn about gorilla anatomy, behaviour, locomotion etc, but I'm not 100% sure it was Mike they used.

But the short version is, many animals wind up in dissection labs.
posted by tracicle at 9:06 PM on November 16, 2004

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