Our calf’s appetite is coming back and we’re beginning to see her feisty personality return! Visit https://t.co/4qaUdm6fle for updates.
— Pittsburgh Zoo (@PghZoo) August 26, 2017
Only four short days after the Pittsburgh Zoo tweeted that the baby elephant’s appetite was coming back and her feisty personality was returning, they put up a blog post informing everyone that the calf was euthanized.
Baby elephant is scheduled to be on exhibit from 10 am to 2 pm daily! 🐘 This schedule may change at any time based on her comfort & needs. pic.twitter.com/fPEAIRNPZ0
— Pittsburgh Zoo (@PghZoo) July 8, 2017
For over a month, the Elle the baby elephant was having difficulty teething. On August 24, 2017, the zoo reported that a feeding tube was being used to give nutrients to the calf because it was starting to lose weight. She was 52 pounds below the average weight.
While the baby continues teething, she’ll be off exhibit (including weekends) so she can rest & focus on getting through this phase pic.twitter.com/QpKEA52E4x
— Pittsburgh Zoo (@PghZoo) August 4, 2017
As explained by the zoo:
When teething caused the little elephant to stop eating, the decision was made to insert a feeding tube so keepers and veterinary staff could provide her with the necessary nutrients and vitamins her body needed. While initially the calf responded well to the feeding tube, her weight did not pick up consistently. The humane decision to euthanize the calf was made and she passed away peacefully surrounded by her family of dedicated keepers. –Pittsburgh Zoo
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 30, 2017
Local news headlines will lead readers to believe that the baby elephant simply “died” out of no where. The playful calf did not just die or pass away. It was put to sleep, put down, put out of its misery, destroyed… the plug was pulled.
Sad about the zoo's baby elephant 🐘. News headlines saying the calf "passed away" or "died". It didnt just die, it was put down, euthanized.
— Boring Pittsburgh (@BoringPGH) August 30, 2017
It’s a tough time for the zoo and elephant caretakers. While most folks trust that the zoo did all that they could for the calf, the blog post contained a surprisingly combative statement:
We expect there will be criticism and accusations from those with limited information and no animal care experience. Sadly, these individuals seek to benefit their own agendas by misrepresenting the realities of a tragic situation and demanding action based on misinformation.
Meet our newest calf! Born premature & mom unable to care for her, she is receiving hands-on care. A long road ahead w/ many obstacles. pic.twitter.com/imP9v5Jyvq
— Pittsburgh Zoo (@PghZoo) June 6, 2017
They concluded the post by backing up the decision to euthanize the calf and reassured the public that the zoo is committed to providing the best care for each individual animal.
The Zoo wishes to thank all those who have expressed their support, prayers, and well wishes for the little calf over the past several months.
— Pittsburgh Zoo (@PghZoo) June 23, 2017
What we know for certain is that it’s a sad day for animal lovers in Pittsburgh, and going to be a difficult time for the other elephants. These fascinating beings are the largest land animals on the planet, and their hearts are even bigger. Elephants are very emotional creatures and it’s going to be a tough time for the rest of the herd.
Our advice? Head over to the zoo to show your support to the other elephants if you can!