A baby elephant born in St Louis Zoo, Missouri just three weeks ago has been put to sleep after he was born with a disability that prevented him from feeding.
According to reports, the Asian elephant calf, named Avi, “passed away peacefully” on August 2.
The calf’s arrival had been eagerly anticipated by staff at the St Louis Zoo. They’d waited three years for a baby elephant to be born at their facility, and so excitement was rampant when a female called Rani and a male called Raja successfully mated.
That led to Avi being born on July 6, but unfortunately the calf exhibited problems from the off. It’s said he had to be hand-fed by staff at the zoo and was even hooked up to an intravenous in an attempt to improve his condition.
Sadly, however, it quickly became apparent that the efforts were in vain. Avi’s health continued to deteriorate until staff decided late last month that it would be kinder to euthanize him.
CEO and St Louis Zoo president 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.”
As per National Geographic, there remain only between 20,000 to 40,000 asian elephants left in the wild. Their population has declined by an estimated 50 percent over the past 75 years, prompting concerns over the future of the species.
I can scarcely comprehend the sense of loss staff at the zoo must be feeling right now.
Share this article if you hope asian elephant numbers can increase before its too late. I can’t imagine a world without them!