A one-month-old baby elephant named Avi died on Sunday at the St. Louis Zoo after struggling with health problems. He was euthanized on Sunday and “passed away peacefully.”
According to the zoo’s press release, the male calf lived for only 27 days and had developmental impairments limiting his ability to feed.
“Despite intensive care efforts and life support measures, including assistance with feedings and continuous intravenous treatments, the calf did not improve. Over the last 48 hours, the calf’s already compromised health deteriorated rapidly.”
The baby’s mother Rani had been bred with a male elephant named Raja. Avi (meaning the sun and the air) was the first Asian elephant to be born in the zoo; his birth was part of a national cooperative breeding and management program focused on maintaining healthy Asian elephants in North American zoos.
“Everyone here is just devastated right now,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “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.”
“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,” said Luis Padilla, DVM, Vice President of Animal Collections, Saint Louis Zoo. “Avi will be missed, but never forgotten.”
There are less than 3,500 Asian elephants left in the wilds- they face extinction due to ivory poaching, the destruction of their natural habitats and trophy hunting.
Rest in peace little one. We all grieve for the loss of your life.
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