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Clemency For Winkie

The week's news at a glance.

Hohenwald, Tenn.

An elephant that crushed one of her handlers to death will be spared, directors of a Tennessee elephant preserve decided this week. Winkie, a 40-year-old, 7,600-pound Asian elephant, last week knocked down 36-year-old Joanna Burke and stepped on her, killing her instantly. Burke was trying to get a closer look at one of the animal’s eyes, which appeared infected from a bug bite. The seven-member board of the Elephant Sanctuary, a 2,700-acre refuge that is home to about two dozen Asian and African elephants, debated whether to euthanize Winkie. But the board concluded that because of her discomfort, “Winkie was not in her right mind” when she attacked Burke, said director Scott Blais. Burke’s family said sparing the elephant would have been Burke’s wish too.

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