2 animals euthanized at Woodland Park Zoo

SEATTLE - Woodland Park Zoo bid farewell to two elderly animals this week.

Loki, a 19-year-old male Komodo dragon, and KC, a 23-year-old female elk, were humanely euthanized for age-related reasons.

"Health issues and deaths are natural occurrences at zoos and in the wild," said Dr. Jennifer Pramuk, a curator at the zoo, "but it's never easy saying goodbye to an animal."

Complications from chronic age-related degenerative joint disease seemed to be the main cause for Loki's declining mobility, loss of appetite and breathing difficulties. Komodo dragons typically live up to 25 years in captivity, and are considered "highly endangered."

KC suffered from age-related illness as well, the zoo sites chronic lameness, age-related arthritis, and a cease in response to supportive husbandry and veterinary care. Elks typically live 18 to 22 years in captivity.

Health officials with Woodland Park Zoo performed animal autopsies on both animals, which is protocol for all animal deaths at the zoo.

The decision to euthanize the animals came after several discussions with veterinarians, managers, peers and experts.

Three Komodo dragons remain at the zoo's Adaptations Building, and four elk reside at the zoo's Northern Trail exhibit.