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4 December 2013

The entire team at Zoos Victoria are very saddened by the sudden loss of our elephant calf Sanook.

Melbourne Zoo Director, Kevin Tanner said; “we have reviewed the CCTV footage from last night which has indicated that his death was a result of a tragic accident.

“He was playing with a large suspended tyre in his barn during the early evening yesterday.

“The CCTV footage shows that at 7.00pm while playing with it, Sanook managed to manoeuvre the tyre in an unusual way that caused his head to become caught. This placed pressure on his neck and would have prevented him from breathing.

“Preliminary post-mortem results confirm this as the cause of death.”

The tyre was one of Sanook’s favourite toys, as it was previously for his sister Mali and brother Ongard.

Tyres are commonly used around the world in zoos as an approved form of enrichment for elephants.

“This is a tragic accident that has left our keepers, vets and staff community devastated. To our knowledge no such accident has taken place in a zoo with elephants before”, Mr Tanner said.  

“I would like to thank the community for their condolences.  I would also like to personally thank my staff at Melbourne Zoo for their professionalism in dealing with such a difficult situation.”

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