Elephant Dies at St. Louis Zoo After Herd’s Agitation from Loose Dog

A female Asian elephant named Rani at the St. Louis Zoo passed away after her herd became disturbed due to a small dog running freely in the vicinity.

Quick Facts

  • Elephant’s Name: Rani, a 27-year-old female Asian elephant.
  • Incident Trigger: A small, unleashed dog was seen running near the Elephant Barn, causing agitation among the elephants.
  • Zoo’s Statement: The zoo’s Director, Michael Macek, expressed devastation over Rani’s death and acknowledged the efforts of the animal care team in trying to save her.

Rani’s sudden death on Friday was announced by the St. Louis Zoo on Tuesday. The incident began when a small dog, not on a leash, was spotted running in a non-public area close to the Elephant Barn. While elephant care workers attempted to contain the dog, one of the elephants outside the barn became disturbed and was subsequently moved inside. Rani, who was already inside the barn eating, did not see the dog. However, she became distressed due to the vocalizations from the agitated herd. Within a short span, Rani was observed circling, vocalizing, and then collapsing.

Despite efforts to revive her, Rani could not be saved. The remaining elephants in the herd managed to calm down swiftly after the incident. Preliminary necropsy results revealed some pre-existing changes in Rani’s heart. Further tests are underway to determine if these changes contributed to her death.

Rani and her mother, Ellie, were transferred to the St. Louis Zoo from another zoo in July 2001, based on recommendations from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan. This program aims to manage the Asian elephant population in North America, ensuring their health and genetic diversity. The World Wildlife Fund has classified Asian elephants as endangered, with their numbers dwindling to fewer than 50,000 in the wild, primarily due to habitat loss and poaching.

For Further ReadingThe Asian elephant is one of the two species of elephants, the other being the African elephant. These majestic creatures are native to a range of countries including India, Nepal, and Thailand. They play a crucial role in their ecosystems by helping to maintain forest and grassland habitats. However, they face threats from habitat destruction, human-elephant conflict, and poaching for their ivory, meat, and body parts. [Wikipedia]


What caused the agitation among the elephants at the St. Louis Zoo?

A small dog running freely near the Elephant Barn led to the disturbance among the elephants.

How did the zoo respond to Rani’s death?

Michael Macek, the zoo’s Director, expressed profound sorrow over the incident and highlighted the efforts of the animal care team in trying to save Rani.

What are the primary threats faced by Asian elephants in the wild?

Asian elephants are endangered due to habitat loss, human-elephant conflicts, and poaching for their ivory, meat, and other body parts.

Original article source: ABC News

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