Baby Elephant Born With A Disability Has Been Put To Sleep After It Prevented Him From Eating

An Asian baby elephant has been put to sleep at just three weeks old after he was born with a disability that prevented him from feeding properly. 

The Asian baby elephant was highly-anticipated by zookeepers in the weeks coming up to his birth, yet when they discovered he had a disability, the St Louis Zoo in Missouri had no choice but to euthanise the calf after numerous attempts to improve his life and condition failed.

Avi, who was born on July 6, had been delivered after three years of trying. In the wild, there are less than 35,000 Asian elephants left. With the threat of ivory poaching and habitat destruction, the Asian elephant’s birth had been long-awaited at the zoo.

However, the zookeepers soon realised that Avi had a disability which was preventing him from eating. Although they tried numerous treatments to attempt and boost his health, alongside hand-feeding him, the calf’s health continued to decline on a rapid basis.

By the end of July, it was determined by the zoo’s expert that the kindest thing to do would be to put the elephant down.

Credit: St Louis Zoo

Jeffrey Boner, the zoo’s president, and CEO Dana Brown stated following the tragedy: “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.”

Credit: St Louis Zoo

The zoo’s vice president of animal collections Luis Padilla added that the death of Avi had hit the staff of the zoo incredibly hard.

Padilla explained: “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. Avi will be missed but never forgotten.

“The community followed Rani’s journey from pregnancy to birth and provided support and positive thoughts for the calf and the Elephant Care Team when they learned of the calf’s developmental and health impairments.

“The outpouring of support that we have received from the community has been incredible. I know everyone joins us in our sense of loss, and that helps our team get through these difficult times.”

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.