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Planckendael baby elephant diagnosed with jaundice

12:46 08/05/2015

Planckendael’s latest addition to its elephant family, temporarily named Baby Q, has jaundice, according to a veterinary expert, the animal park has reported.

Baby Q has had a seriously problematic entry into the world: Born two weeks ago at the animal park in Mechelen, the baby’s mother, May Tagu, would not let him feed from her. She also impeded his efforts to stand up, which is critical within a few hours of an elephant birth.

Zookeepers soon removed Baby Q from the herd and fed him with milk from another of its elephants, which they said was not ideal. May Tagu will also not allow keepers to milk her. The baby eventually found his feet and was allowed to return to the herd. But he still couldn’t feed from his mother.

Planckendael’s team have consulted international experts, and a veterinarian has now said that the baby elephant has jaundice, which means he is experiencing problems with his liver. The condition is making his skin peel.

Zookeepers have reinforced Baby Q’s milk with vitamins and minerals to treat the condition and in the hopes of keeping his strength up. They are introducing him to his mother a little at a time.

“As we continue consultations with European Asian elephant experts, we are doing everything we can to make sure that Q has a place in the herd,” said the park in a statement. “But that is a prolonged process and happens in small steps, with ups-and-downs.”


Photo courtesy Planckendael

Written by Lisa Bradshaw



Wits so cruel to keep these large mammals in tiny spaces and the only other one I've seen in a Belgian zoo was banging its head in frustration and boredom. Maybe the mother knew the baby was sick

May 9, 2015 16:40