Shirley the elephant turns 72 at Tennessee sanctuary

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3rd Oldest Elephant in North America Turns 72 at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (Courtesy: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is celebrating a big birthday Monday.

Asian elephant Shirley turned 72 Monday. Shirley has been at the sanctuary for 21 years. She is one of the oldest elephants in captivity and lived far beyond years she was expected to.

She is the oldest elephant there and holds the record for the third oldest elephant in North America.

Shirley had a strawberry-topped vegan cake, watermelon wedges, rice paper balloons and banana leaves to celebrate. She ate the cake in just one bite.

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been around for 25 years. It’s about 85 miles southwest of Nashville in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

It gives elephants that are retired from performance or exhibition with home or herd care for life.

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