ST. LOUIS – The Saint Louis Zoo is still mourning the loss of Avi, their young male Asian elephant, but now they’re getting some insight into why he was having such a hard time thriving.
The zoo said a preliminary necropsy, animal autopsy, found the elephant was born with two birth abnormalities that could not be reversed. Avi’s major vessels connected to his heart were compromised and he had a spinal issue.
Avi’s abnormal blood flow was caused by a patent “ductus arteriosus that remained open after birth” causing blood to not go to his lungs to aid in proper oxygen levels. The PDA is uncommon and hard to diagnose in large animals.
The zoo said Avi’s abnormal spine also limited his range of motion in his neck and head, making it hard for him to position himself for feedings on his own.
Avi’s mother, Rani is healthy according to the Zoo’s Elephant Care Team.