Lifestyle & Belief

San Diego elephant fatally attacked by another elephant, autopsy shows


Elephants at San Diego Zoo's Safari Park. Umoya, a 21-year-old female, was fatally attacked by another elephant in the herd last month.


Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo

An elephant was fatally attacked by another elephant at the San Diego Zoo, according to today's autopsy report. 

Umoya, a 21-year-old dominant female elephant at the San Diego Safari Park, was found dead with injuries on November 17. A post-mortem examination confirmed that she was indeed attacked, but other details of her death remain murky, the Los Angeles Times reported. There were no witnesses to the fight, and it is unknown which elephant or elephants were responsible for the attack, a zoo spokesperson announced Wednesday. Her wounds also didn't appear severe enough to be fatal upon first examination. 

Umoya was one of seven elephants that the San Diego Zoo imported from Swaziland in 2003, where officials said they were going to be murdered because of elephant overpopulation in the region, Sign On San Diego reported. She was born in Kruger National Park in South Africa around 1990. 

She leaves behind two elephant calves: 4-year-old Phakamile and 18-month-old Emanti, who are both being taken care of by other females in the herd. 

It is not uncommon for elephants in the wild to attack or hurt each other, a zoo spokeswoman told the Los Angeles Times. The elephant herd is still being managed the same way after the death. 

Umoya is the fourth elephant to die at the San Diego Zoo since 2000. According to PETA, 69-year-old Sunita was euthanized in 2009 because her heath was deteriorating. The zoo also lost a baby elephant in 2008 due to malnourishment and a staph infection, and euthanized 39-year-old Carol in 2007 because of degenerative joint disease. 

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