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At Zoo Elephant

author
Ellen Grant
• Friday, 04 December, 2020
• 10 min read

This photo, provided by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, shows elephant calf, Ajay, with his big brother, Batu, age 5, in Syracuse, N.Y. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the death of Ajay, an Asian elephant calf, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.

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Contents

“This is obviously the worst possible outcome, and it occurred after more than a week of intensive care by our team in hopes that every day Batu survived gave him a better chance to beat this horrible disease,” Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Ted Fox said. The 5-year-old male elephant died early Friday morning, days after the sudden death Tuesday of his younger brother, Ajay.

Batu had been in treatment since last week when a blood test came back positive for the virus, the zoo said in a statement. The elephant received medications and infusions of plasma but the viral load of EMHV in its blood grew exponentially by the day.

EMHV is the biggest killer of young Asian elephants and can cause death within 24 hours in those under age 8. It is believed to be naturally occurring among elephants in a latent form that can become active without warning, according to the zoo.

Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. This photo, provided by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, shows elephant calf, Ajay, with his big brother, Batu, age 5, in Syracuse, N.Y.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the death of Ajay, an Asian elephant calf, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. This photo, provided by the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, shows elephant calf, Ajay, with his big brother, Batu, age 5, in Syracuse, N.Y.

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The Rosamond Gifford Zoo announced the death of Ajay, an Asian elephant calf, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. “This is obviously the worst possible outcome, and it occurred after more than a week of intensive care by our team in hopes that every day Batu survived gave him a better chance to beat this horrible disease,” Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Ted Fox said.

The 5-year-old male elephant died early Friday morning, days after the sudden death Tuesday of his younger brother, Ajay. Batu had been in treatment since last week when a blood test came back positive for the virus, the zoo said in a statement.

The elephant received medications and infusions of plasma but the viral load of EMHV in its blood grew exponentially by the day. Batu died early Friday morning, three days after the death of his younger brother Ajay at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, according to NBC.

He was given blood transfusions and medication, but the virus raged out of control, said the zoo’s director Ted Fox. “Although we knew this could happen, it’s hard to accept,” Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon told NBC.

Two baby elephants at an upstate New York zoo died just days apart due to a “lethal” strain of herpes that targets their species. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse said it lost Batu, a 5-year-old Asian elephant, on Friday, three days after the death of his younger brother, Ajay, who would have turned two next month.

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(Source: denverzoo.org)

She was first sedated at about 8:15 a.m., and after she laid down, the euthanasia drugs were administered. She died around 9:15 a.m., her longtime keeper Marie Galloway said.

Bowie and Shanghai were then permitted to have some time with her body. “I feel like it was completely right,” said Galloway, an elephant manager who had been Amiga’s keeper for 33 years.

“She was eating BOK chop the whole time and a little of celery, and we used that to keep her in place. And when she was given the initial sedation, “we expected that she would try very hard to stay in a standing position,” Galloway said.

“She set her legs and pressed her head against the bollards in front of her,” she said. Blood samples were taken, and the zoo’s chief veterinarian, Don Naffer, gave the euthanasia drugs.

“Once that stuff is given, the vets confirm that she indeed has passed,” said senior curator and elephant specialist Bryan Amaral. “The hard part for us was not hugging each other,” because of the virus restrictions.

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Her roughly 6,500-pound remains were removed from the zoo late Friday night with a front end loader and a truck and taken to a facility where a crops, an autopsy for an animal, was underway Saturday. An American bison named Zora had to be put down March 3 after she thrashed in a stall and broke her left hind leg.

Amiga, one of seven elephants the zoo had, had been ailing in recent months. She had been treated for osteoarthritis a decade ago, but the staff was able to ease her pain and slow the progression of the disease, the zoo said.

She received anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and joint supplements. But she also began to develop lesions on her foot pads and nails.

“Last week, her keepers noticed that her right-front leg, which bore the brunt of her weight, developed a curve that weakened her ability to stand,” the zoo said in a statement. Given those factors, as well as her age, physical and social decline, and poor quality of life, the staff decided to euthanize her, the zoo said.

Amiga was captured in India at 8 and worked for years as a logging elephant. She came to the zoo in 1961, during the administration of President John F. Kennedy.

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Seventy-two years for an elephant is a pretty good run. Your tax-deductible gift will care for wildlife at the Zoo and Safari Park and provide a sustainable lifeline for endangered species worldwide.

Elephants often spray themselves with water or roll in the mud or dust for protection from the sun and biting insects. The tusks present at birth are milk teeth, which fall out after a year when they are about 2 inches (5 centimeters) long.

When elephants get old, their remaining molars are sensitive and worn down, so they prefer to eat softer food. An elephant’s trunk is so strong it can push down trees and so agile that it can pick up a single piece of straw.

Elephants also use their trunk like we use our hands: to grab, hold, pick up, reach, touch, pull, push, and throw. The trunk is still a nose, too, and has two nostrils at the end that suck air up the long nasal passages and into the lungs.

African elephants are grazer-browsers and eat grasses, including edges, flowering plants, leaves, shrubs, and small- to medium-size trees. African forest elephants are browser-frugivores and eat leaves, fruits, seeds, branches, and bark.

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(Source: www.zoo-palmyre.fr)

Still, the adult male African elephants at the Safari Park need to eat over 70,000 calories each day! Our elephants are offered hay, herbivore pellets, acacia browse, celery, cucumbers, and lettuce daily.

All elephants live in close social groups called herds, usually made up of related females and their offspring. The matriarch remembers where and how to find food and water, how to avoid predators, and the best places for shelter.

Only after they become adults do they visit herds of females, and that is only for short periods of time to breed. A trunk may be held out to an approaching elephant as a greeting and is also used in caressing, twining, wrestling, and checking reproductive status.

Elephant calves could be a potential meal for hyenas, lions, leopards, or crocodiles, but as long as they stay near Mom or their herd, they have little to worry about. If an elephant senses danger, it trumpets a loud alarm call to alert the others.

The herd then forms a protective ring, with youngsters in the middle and the adults facing out to confront a potential predator. At birth a baby elephant, called a calf, may stand three feet (one meter) tall.

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(Source: www.adias-uae.com)

Babies spend their days practicing making all four legs go in the same direction at the same time, perfecting their ear flaring, and mastering trunk control. After being led off the train, the two Asian elephants refused to move another step, no matter how much encouragement they received.

A fellow herd-mate from Africa followed in October 2009, by way of the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida. Since their arrival at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, their numbers have grown.

The success of this group at the Safari Park helped earn us the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ 2014 award for significantly enhancing the conservation of a species. In March 2012, five of those elephants were moved to the Reid Park Zoo in Arizona to start a new herd.

Today, the Safari Park is home to 14 African elephants: 4 adults and 10 sub-adults and calves of varying ages. To best manage the elephants’ health at both the Zoo and the Safari Park, these behemoths are trained to present various body parts to keepers for inspection and care.

Whether daintily presenting a foot, patiently standing parallel to the bars for a cleaning, or offering up their trunk for a saline flush, these animals are clearly highly cognizant and deserve the best care. As a species that has spent millions of years patrolling the parched African landscape following ancient mental maps to water sources, it’s no wonder that swimming pools and mud wallows are a big hit with our elephants.

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On warm days, guests can be treated to views of the Park’s younger elephants cavorting about in the pool, spraying each other with trunks full of water and horsing around with their friends in the sun. The procedure went well, thanks to intense planning, training and desensitizing the elephant, and collaboration among the Park’s keepers and veterinary staff.

Additionally, some elephants are trained to wear a collar around their neck that holds a GPS unit and a digital infrasonic recorder. Asian and African forest elephants are listed as endangered, primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

African elephants are threatened, primarily due to habitat loss and being poached for their tusks. In one multidisciplinary approach, our scientists record elephant auditory communication and behavior for a clearer understanding of the social dynamics of a herd and the relationship between mother and calf.

To promote genetic diversity, we’re sharing bull elephant semen with other facilities in an effort to enhance the gene pool of managed populations. To further reproductive success, we are monitoring hormones to uncover the details of the complex estrous cycle of elephants.

At the Safari Park, we are studying how many miles our elephants move each day by having select individuals wear specially designed pedometers. We continue to financially support field conservation efforts in Swaziland and are working with the Northern Rang elands Trust to preserve large tracts of land in Kenya and helping local ecologists and rangers reduce human- elephant conflict in the area.

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The small country of Botswana is home to the largest contiguous wild elephant population remaining on the African continent. Every individual pachyderm has its unique character and intriguing story to his or her own seasonal march, preferred routes, and favored places.

Each new elephant fitted with a tracking device provides new information to understand the ecology of these animals. Unpredictable individual ranging behavior coupled with a dynamic, ever-changing environment in Botswana underscore the need for long-term elephant studies.

In collaboration with San Diego Zoo Global, Elephants Without Borders has established a conservation farming project in the Chose Enclave in Botswana. This project is developing experimental plots with various methods of keeping elephants away from crops, including farming of specific chili species that are thought to be unpalatable to elephants and may deter them from invading crop areas.

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