An elephant given as a present to former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito 40 years ago has died suddenly, a Croatian newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Late Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi gave Sony to the communist leader in 1970 when the bull elephant was a two-year-old calf, the Jutarnji List daily reported.
Sony, who lived at Croatia’s northern national Brijuni islands park where Mr Tito had a private zoo, died on Friday.
An autopsy is to determine the cause of his death. In the wild, elephants can live up to 70 years.
The islands were once reserved for Mr Tito and his close friends but are now frequented by officials and tourists.
Sony lived there among other exotic animals including Lanka, a cow elephant.
“We were all shocked by his death. We simply cannot believe that he is not here any more,” Vesna Klunic of the national park told the media.
“Now we will take special care of Lanka since it’s not easy for her.”
Mr Tito ruled the former Yugoslav federation, of which Croatia was a part, for 35 years until his death in 1980.
A decade after his death, Yugoslavia broke up in a series of internecine wars.