Pittsburgh Zoo baby elephant dies

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WDTV) -- Pittsburgh' Tribune-Review reported Wednesday that the baby elephant in Pittsburgh Zoo's care had passed away.

The female calf was born a month premature at Somerset County's International Conservation Center on May 31. She weighed 52 lbs lighter than an average calf. Due to this, it was critical that she gained weight.

The calf had been transported to the Pittsburgh Zoo and was constantly cared for by zookeepers.

They said she had been doing well, but stopped eating due to pain from teething. On August 23, the calf had surgery to insert a feeding tube.

However, the calf was still unable to gain the weight she needed. According to an interview with the Tribune-Review, this led to suspicion of a genetic abnormality or malabsorption syndrome which was prohibiting her body from getting necessary nutrients.

The decision was made to put the calf down and she passed away surrounded by her keepers.

A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of the calf's struggle.

Zoo officials told the Tribune-Review that they are heartbroken but stand by the choices they made in caring for the baby elephant.