ELEPHANT Ruperta, an international symbol of Venezuela, has died aged 48, supposedly of starvation.
Many people blame Venezuela’s deepening economic struggles for animals going unfed.
Her death has provoked angry reactions in the troubled South American country with many Venezuelans flocking to social media.
The rising inflation in Venezuela has caused widespread hunger and distress in the country.
There have been reports of animals being stolen from zoos for food.
Animal rights groups claim that there is a lack of food for zoo animals and Ruperta is a victim of this callousness.
Authorities, instead, said that it was “just her time”.
Minister Ramon Velasquez said: “We regret Ruperta’s death, she was an icon of Caricuao Zoo.”
According to Mr Velasquez, captive animals tend to live around 17 years, while Ruperta reached 48 years