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Elephant fatally attacked by another elephant at zoo, report finds

December 21, 2011 |  9:51 am


A postmortem examination has confirmed that Umoya, a 21-year-old elephant at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, was fatally attacked by another elephant, but other details of the death remain a mystery.

No one witnessed the attack and it is unknown which elephant or elephants were responsible for Umoya's death, or what may prompted the attack, a zoo spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Umoya was found dead Nov. 17. There were no visible injuries, but it was clear that the female African elephant had been hurt by what was initially termed an "aggressive interaction." A necropsy confirmed that initial conclusion.

It is not uncommon for elephants in the wild to attack or hurt each other, the spokeswoman said. No changes have been made in how the elephant herd is managed.

Umoya is survived by calves Phakamile, 4 years, and Emanti, 18 months. Both are now being tended by other females in the herd.

Umoya, born in South Africa, was one of seven elephants brought to the Safari Park -- then known as the Wild Animal Park -- in 2003.


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Photo: Umoya, center, a female African elephant found dead. Credit: San Diego Zoo Safari Park