Beloved Tucson zoo elephant dies suddenly of ‘twisted gut’

May 10, 2018

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Officials say a beloved 11-year-old male elephant died suddenly at Tucson’s zoo after it suffered an intenstinal condition.

Zoo officials say the elephant named Punga died Tuesday morning at the Reid Park Zoo from double mesenteric root torsion, which is also known as twisted gut.

It can produce sudden symptoms that are typically fatal.

Zoo veterinarian Alexis Moreno says the zoo’s animal care team responded immediately after Punga showed signs of discomfort.

Moreno says the team did what it could but recovery from the condition is nearly impossible.

Interim zoo administrator Sue Tygielski says elephants have deep family bonds, so the zoo’s other elephants were provided access to Punga’s body to mourn the loss.

The Zoo performed a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death.