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Elephant mother kills own baby at Oakland Zoo

Associated Press
Tuesday September 11, 2001

OAKLAND, (AP) — Preliminary results show Dohani, the Oakland Zoo’s prized African elephant calf, died Sunday of a series of injuries inflicted by his mother, Lisa. 

Dohani was born Aug. 30, weighing 320 pounds and standing 3-foot-6, and was just the seventh African elephant born in captivity in North America since 1984. Only three have survived. 

The young calf had two broken ribs, a damaged lung and a wound on its chest, which may indicate that his mother gored him with her tusk, said the zoo’s executive director, Joel Parrott. 

Parrott said the injuries appeared to be an accident and not a sign of aggression. Parrott said the calf was very healthy and 24-year-old Lisa was bonding with him very well. 

Zoo officials found Dohani dead in his pen early Sunday morning. Lisa was standing guard over him. 

Parrott said Lisa is going through a grieving process and is still very attentive to the calf — who has been returned to her pen after the necropsy. 

The zoo plans to bury the calf next to Smokey, his father, who died in March and was one of the last three breeding bull elephants left in the United States. 

Lisa rejected her first baby, in 1995, forcing keepers to raise the animal until he died 11 months later. Lisa lost a second calf in 1998 due to a salmonella virus.