Baby elephant at Columbus Zoo dies 3 weeks after birth

Posted at 7:11 AM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-27 08:11:30-05

By Jason Strock

COLUMBUS, OH (WTOL) - A baby elephant born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium came down with a sudden illness and died on Wednesday afternoon.

The female calf was being monitored 24 hours a day by zoo staff, and had been nursing overnight. However, early Wednesday morning, she began acting sluggish.

Veterinarians on site administered fluids and antibiotics, and while she appeared to rebound, the calf began to once again decline rapidly.

She eventually died around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

“At only a few weeks of age, this little calf had already won our hearts. She was a cherished member of our Zoo family, and we are mourning her passing,” said Columbus Zoo President/CEO Tom Stalf. “I have the privilege of working alongside amazing, compassionate and dedicated animal experts. Our team is going through an exceptionally difficult time with our recent unrelated losses, and we are appreciative of the outpouring of support we receive from near and far.”

The baby elephant had not yet been named, but was born on Dec. 6 and was a highly anticipated arrival.

She was the first elephant birth the zoo had seen in almost 10 years and was the very first to be born through artificial insemination.

The process is relatively rare for elephants, but is starting to happen more frequently. This is part of an effort to help the population of endangered elephants to grow.

The calf was part of a herd that includes six other Asian elephants, including males Hank and Beco, and females Phoebe, Connie, Sundara and Rudy.

The zoo says that a complete necropsy, or animal autopsy, will be done but results may not be available for several weeks.

Copyright 2018 WTOL. All rights reserved.