The Columbus Zoo is reeling after the unexpected death of the new elephant calf.
The 20-day-old female calf died at approximately 1:30pm after a sudden illness.
Veterinary team members determined she had an infection and administered fluids, antibiotics, and blood plasma from her mother, Phoebe.
The calf appeared to rebound and even nursed. But, alas, her health rapidly declined again and she passed away.
A full animal autopsy will be conducted to determine exact cause of death.
“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.”
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The calf was a result of an artificial insemination using sperm from a male elephant at the Columbus Zoo and a male from another zoo after natural breeding was unsuccessful.
While still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range, according to a release from the zoo.
The Columbus Zoo also lost three giraffes, including 2 calves, between November and December.