Baby elephant dies at Columbus Zoo Three weeks after birth.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s 3-week-old elephant calf contracted an illness and died unexpectedly Wednesday afternoon.
The unnamed female was born Dec. 6 to Phoebe, a 31-year-old Asian elephant.
The calf appeared to be sluggish Wednesday morning and zoo veterinarians determined that she had an infection, according to a statement from the zoo. They administered fluids, antibiotics and blood plasma from her mother.
She appeared to rebound and nursed from her mother. But her health rapidly declined and she died about 1:30 p.m., the statement said.
Necropsy results won’t be available for several weeks.
“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,” the zoo’s president and CEO, Tom Stalf, said in the statement.
“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.”
Two Masai giraffe calves and one of their mothers, 6-year-old Cami, also have died at the zoo since mid-November. The first calf, born Oct. 30, died Nov. 17 from a suspected infection. The second calf was stillborn and deformed. Veterinarians had to perform a Cesarean section Dec. 4 as a last resort to remove it from Cami, its mother, who died five days later.
The pair were the zoo’s first giraffe calves in nearly 20 years.
The elephant calf also was a much-anticipated birth, the zoo’s first in about 10 years and the first as the result of artificial insemination. The calf’s father was either Hank, a 30-year-old male in the Columbus Zoo’s herd of six elephants, or an elephant from another zoo whose sperm also was used. DNA test results are pending.
Including this most recent calf, three Asian elephants have been born at the Columbus Zoo, all to Phoebe.
Asian elephants are endangered in their native ranges of southern and southeastern Asia because of factors that include habitat loss and poaching, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The World Elephant Day organization estimates there are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild.