ST. LOUIS (AP) — Avi the elephant has died weeks after his birth at the St. Louis Zoo.
Zoo officials said the Asian elephant calf was euthanized Sunday because he had developmental problems that limited his ability to feed. The zoo said Avi’s condition deteriorated quickly over the past two days despite feeding assistance and intravenous treatments.
Zoo President and CEO Jeffrey Bonner said everyone at the zoo was “just devastated right now” at the loss of Avi. “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.”
The calf was born at the zoo on July 6 to Rani, a 24-year-old Asian elephant. The zoo’s bull elephant, Raja, 27, was the father. Raja was the first Asian elephant born at the zoo, in 1992; Avi was his fifth calf and the first that was male.
An elephant pregnancy lasts about 22 months, and a calf weighs between 250 and 350 pounds at birth.
Asian elephants are facing extinction, and zoos are coordinating breeding programs.