Phuket, Thailand – A baby elephant at the zoo in Phuket, Thailand, which went viral after animal rights activists posted images of his skeleton on social media, died in zoo custody after a month-long request to take him to a sanctuary, according to local media.
The emaciated elephant was so weak that it broke its two hind legs trying to free its front legs from the mud in its enclosure. The breaks were not detected by the zoo staff for three days, and were only discovered after the elephant was transferred to an Elephant Hospital of the National Elephant Institute in Lampang due to its deteriorating state.
The baby elephant died only three days after being transported to the hospital, an employee of the elephant hospital confirmed The news of Phuket.
The 3-year-old elephant, known as Jumbo at the Phuket Zoo, but nicknamed "Dumbo" by activists because of his plight, was performing tricks for tourists at the Phuket Zoo up to three times a day before his death. Jumbo was expected to "rave" to loud music, play musical instruments and perform tricks.
When Moving Animals, an animal rights duo that documents practices within animal industries around the world, encountered the baby elephant, they immediately noticed that it was emaciated and fragile.
They took photos and videos of the performances at the Phuket Zoo and created a petition online with the hashtag #SaveDumbo on April 2, begging the Phuket Zoo to hand Jumbo to the care of a nearby shrine where he would no longer have to act.
The campaign on social networks went viral and the petition obtained 20,000 signatures in the first four days.
Mana Thepparuk, Head of the Phuket Provincial Office of the Department of Livestock Development, which is the regulatory office responsible for supervising the animals used for any form or work, was alerted on the subject and the associated online campaign on April 9, when a news reporter from Phuket I contacted him.
"This baby elephant is fine, but it's thin, my officers will check the elephant baby's health today to make sure he is not suffering from any infection or digestive problem," Thepparuk told the reporter after watching the Jumbo video circulating in line. "As far as I can see in the video clip, the baby elephant is working, but I'm sure the animal (sic) is not being harmed."
The next day, April 10, the DLD discovered that the baby elephant was lightweight and could have been infected, and ordered the Phuket Zoo to stop acting until it fully recovered.
Three days later, Jumbo experienced a horrible accident in his compound, which the zoo's manager, Pichai Sakunsorn, told The Phuket News that it was created especially for the recovery of the elephant.
Jumbo was so weak that he could not free his front legs from the mud, and he broke both hind legs trying to free himself. The zoo recognized the swelling in Dumbo's legs and tried to treat him on the spot, not realizing that both legs were completely broken for three whole days.
A veterinarian at the elephant hospital where Jumbo was taken for further treatment opined that Dumbo did not die from abuse or neglect.
"He had an infection in the digestive tract that caused Jumbo to suffer constant diarrhea, which caused other health complications, including the fact that his body was not absorbing the nutrients as he should, which weakened him a lot," the vet said. believes that the cause of Jumbo's condition may be because he was born premature. In addition, Jumbo liked bananas and other sweet foods. He refused to eat enough fiber-rich foods to stay healthy. "
After the death of Jumbo, Thepparuk told The Phuket News. that his officers would be investigating and take any legal action deemed necessary.
He went on to explain that there is nothing to prevent the Phuket Zoo from acquiring another baby elephant to take on Jumbo's performance tasks.
Moving Animals updated its "Save Dumbo" page to observe the passage of the elephant and to demand an end to the exploitation of animals as tourist attractions.
For "Dumbo" to die while under the so-called "care" and "treatment" of the zoo, it is shown how careless these animals are in captivity.
We want to thank everyone for their overwhelming support for "Dumbo." We hope that "Dumbo" will find the peace that was so cruelly denied in his life, and that his tragic story will urge the Thai authorities to put an end to these performances of obsolete animals. – Animals in movement