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Jakarta Post

55-year-old elephant dies at Medan Zoo after losing appetite for days

  • Apriadi Gunawan and Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Medan and Pekanbaru   /   Mon, January 27, 2020   /   03:33 pm
55-year-old elephant dies at Medan Zoo after losing appetite for days Medan’s acting mayor, Akhyar Nasution, (white shirt) looks at the carcass of Neneng, a 55-year old female elephant that died at the city-owned zoo in North Sumatra on Saturday. (JP/Apriadi Gunawan)

A 55-year old female elephant named Neneng has died at Medan Zoo in North Sumatra after reportedly losing her appetite to eat for days.

Sucitrawan, the zoo's veterinarian, said Neneng's health condition had deteriorated drastically over the weekend after she had constantly rejected meals in the past week.

Prior to her death, the doctor's team had tried to boost the giant mammal's stamina by injecting at least 57 bottles of an isotonic fluid, Ringer's lactate solution, and glucose solution into her vein, but to no avail. 

After days of struggle, Neneng died on Saturday at around 10:30 a.m. Her carcass was sent to a laboratory for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

"In the meantime, we conclude [preliminarily] that the animal has died of old age," Sucitrawan said.

Medan acting mayor Akhyar Nasution, who visited the Zoo right after hearing about Neneng's death, said he felt saddened by the news. He underlined that the "public have to know about the lab's result."

Medan Zoo's manager, city-owned Pembangunan Medan, claimed that elephants at the zoo had always received special attention and abundant amounts of food.

Following Neneng's death, the animal park has only one female elephant aged 50.

"We intend to ask the BKSDA [Natural Resources Conservation Agency] for a couple more [elephants]," Pembangunan Medan director Putrama Al Khairi said.

A visitor, Halimah, said she frequently brought her children to the zoo to ride an elephant for only Rp 10,000. (74 US cents). "It's sad to hear about the elephant's death. She was the star of the zoo, because [people] could ride her," said the 47-year-old resident of Padang Bulan subdisctrict.

In a separate development, a 20-year-old elephant kept at the Buluh Cina ecopark in the neighboring province of Riau is reportedly four months pregnant. 

The "happy mother" Ngatini had been transferred to the park from an elephant training center in March 2017, along with her male partner Robin, to lure visitors. (vny)

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