Zoo officials were quick to say that Rama's injury wasn't a result of his captive status, even though it happened when he fell into a man-made moat, which has since been filled in.
"Rama sustained the injury in 1990, when older female elephants began to push the young, sexually maturing bull out of the herd, something that occurs naturally in the wild," said zoo deputy director Chris Pfefferkorn in a statement. "During this process, Rama fell into a moat that in those days surrounded the elephant area."
The injury was serious, and for years, Rama distributed his weight among three legs. This eventually took its toll on the animal, and the zoo says Rama's health plummeted in the last few weeks.
"The treatments that had been successful for many years were no longer easing his discomfort, and so - with sadness and compassion - our animal-care staff decided the most humane course of action was to euthanize him," the zoo wrote on its community Facebook page.