HOHENWALD, Tenn. (WZTV) - Shirley the elephant is celebrating her 72nd birthday and her 21st year at the Elephant Sanctuary in Middle Tennessee.
Shirley is the oldest elephant at the sanctuary and is the third oldest elephant in North America.
"Shirley has now lived at The Sanctuary for 21 years, and we are inspired every day by her resilient, strong spirit," the sanctuary said on Facebook.
During these past 71 years, Shirley has been through a lot. After experiencing injuries from performing with a traveling circus for more than 20 years she was then transferred to The Louisiana Purchase Zoo & Gardens where she was the sole resident for 22 years, until finally being transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
Caregivers held a birthday celebration complete with a vegan cake with strawberries, watermelon wedges, rice paper balloons and banana leaves. Shirley ate her cake in just one bite. She also tossed her decorative hay bales in the air and savored some bamboo.