IPOH: The drug used to sedate the elephant calf may have contributed to its death on Saturday, Taiping Zoo director Dr Kevin Lazarus said.
“Coupled with the animal’s exhaustion, dehydration and lack of balanced nutrition, it collapsed,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Although the 20mg of Ilium Xylazil-100 injected into the calf to calm it down on Friday morning was “very safe”, the sedative may have contributed to the animal’s death the following day.
Said Dr Kevin: “It was not the fault of the rangers who gave it the sedative but the calf’s already poor health, probably did quicken its death.”
He added that the 18-month-old calf’s weakened condition was due to its separation of over a month from its mother, which had died from gunshot wounds on May 8.
“Baby elephants feed on their mother’s milk at least until they are two years old, and will still try to suckle until their mother gives birth again,” he said.
The 300kg calf, affectionately named Mat Chepor, was seemingly in a sprightly and healthy condition when caught on Monday afternoon in Kampung Chepor, not far from where its mother was found dead.
State Perhilitan director Shabrina Mohd Shariff said the results of tests on the calf’s blood and tissue samples by the Veterinary Research Institute here would only be ready in two weeks.
A bacteriology test to determine whether the calf was suffering from any infection should be completed by Thursday, while a histology test on any damage to the calf’s muscles would be ready in two weeks.
The calf collapsed at the Felcra Kampung Chepor oil palm estate in Lenggong on Friday during efforts to transport it to the Kuala Gandah elephant translocation unit in Pahang.
A post mortem conducted by the Taiping Zoo later revealed that Mat Chepor’s digestive system had already been damaged by malnutrition.
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