Three-Week-Old Elephant Had To Be Put To Sleep After Being Born With Health Problems
The three-week-old Asian elephant calf, called Avi, had been eagerly awaited by staff at the St Louis Zoo in Missouri but sadly, despite the best efforts of vets, had to be put to sleep and 'passed away peacefully' on 2 August.
Staff at the zoo had hoped for a baby elephant for three years and were delighted when a female elephant called Rani and a male elephant named Raja successfully mated, leading to Rani giving birth on 6 July.
Following his birth, Avi had to be hand-fed by staff at the zoo and was even hooked up to intravenous treatments to try and get him healthy.
But despite their attempts, little Avi's health declined at the end of last month and staff decided it would be better to put him to sleep.
St Louis Zoo president and CEO Jeffery Bonner said: "Everyone here is just devastated right now. Our team of professional elephant care experts did everything possible to help improve the calf's health. Unfortunately, in the end, it just wasn't enough as his health complications were too severe."
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Luis Padilla, the zoo's vice president of animal collections, went on to say that the death had left staff devastated.
Luis said: "The animal care team who worked so closely with this calf every day of his short life, and all those who loved him, are understandably grieving. Avi will be missed, but never forgotten.
"The community followed Rani's journey from pregnancy to birth and provided support and positive thoughts for the calf and the Elephant Care Team when they learned of the calf's developmental and health impairments.
"The outpouring of support that we have received from the community has been incredible. I know everyone joins us in our sense of loss, and that helps our team get through these difficult times."
There are thought to be fewer than 35,000 Asian elephants left in the wild, with the animals facing numerous threats to their habitat and from poachers who kill them for their ivory.
Featured Image Credit: St Louis Zoo
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