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Munich baby elephant dies before operation
Experts examine baby elephant Lola. Photo: DPA

Munich baby elephant dies before operation

Published: 22 Jan 2012 10:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Jan 2012 10:05 GMT+01:00

A three-month old elephant at a zoo in Munich died on Saturday of a pulmonary embolism, just before she was due to receive a heart surgery for a congenital defect.

Lola would have become the first elephant in the world to have the surgery, a complicated operation planned by a team of vets and heart surgeons.

The elephant was taken to the Grosshadern Hospital for a CT scan, so that vets could take a closer look at her heart before operating. She was anaesthetized, but died during the scan, despite attempts to resuscitate her.

Keepers at the Hellabrunn Zoo first thought the three-month-old elephant had a cold when she seemed to be tired and short of breath in December. Her condition did not improve with antibiotics.

Ultrasound testing on Wednesday revealed her heart defect, which resulted in a dangerous blood clot in part of her heart.

"It was always our biggest fear that the clot in the heart would cause an embolism, which would mean immediate death," zoo director Andreas Knieriem said.

"Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened."

It is the second baby elephant from the Hellabrunn Zoo to die within 18 months. In June 2010, veterinarians had to euthanise Jamuna Toni, a six-month-old elephant, who was in poor health.

An autopsy revealed multiple bone breaks, leading vets to believe that Jamuna Toni was suffering from a metabolic bone disease.

DAPD/DPA/The Local/arp

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:21 January 23, 2012 by Englishted
I have eaten veal ,so could I try this?
03:28 January 24, 2012 by janreg58
Do you say the same thing when you see a penis? I bet you do.
11:17 January 24, 2012 by William Thirteen
poor girl.
18:10 January 24, 2012 by LancashireLad
So they took the baby away from its mother for a CT scan. Fair enough. They couldn't have known it would die, but how are they going to let the mother know the baby has died? The mother would have to see the corpse to understand, just as she would in nature.But what association would she then make? "Humans take my baby away and bring it back dead"? Or if she didn't see it again, "Humans take my baby away and I don't see it again?". Or I wonder if she knew something was wrong, anyway?
00:54 January 25, 2012 by zeddriver
@LancashireLad

The zoo was going to spend huge amounts of money to do heart surgery on the baby. They seem to have a pile of cash available now to send mother to therapy. Their going to have to build a hell of a big black leather sofa though.
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