Melbourne Zoo staff grieving after baby elephant ‘Willow’ dies

Melbourne Zoo’s baby elephant ‘Willow’ has died, aged just six weeks old.

The zoo announced the sad news on Tuesday morning, stating that “Everyone at Melbourne Zoo is grieving this sad loss.”

The Asian Elephant Calf was born on June 15 with a rare condition called Congenital Carpal Flexure.


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This meant she was unable to stand and feed from her mother.

“Although the birth itself went smoothly, the calf was born with a congenital flexion of both carpal (wrist) joints preventing her from standing and feeding from her mother Num-Oi, so staff gave her bottles made up of an artificial Asian Elephant milk formula mixed 80/20 with her mother’s milk,” the zoo said in a statement.

“Unfortunately the calf didn’t reliably bottle feed, so she was dependent on intravenous drips for both fluid and nutrition with the hope she could be returned to her mother once her leg problems were resolved.”

Zoo Director Kevin Tanner says the loss is being felt most of all by the Keepers, Veterinarians, and Vet nurses who have been caring for her in the Elephant Barn 24/7 since she was born.

“Our team could not have done more for Willow to keep her comfortable while making every possible effort to pull her through.”

Willow passed away yesterday after contracting a blood infection, which localised in her chest and limb bones, almost two weeks ago.

Melbourne Zoo says Willow’s mother Num-Oi has been given the chance to grieve her calf.