The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, had sad news to share on Thursday afternoon.
Warren, one of the zoo’s two male African elephants, died on Thursday morning, zoo staff shared on Facebook.
The elephant, who was around 8 or 9 years old, died during a procedure.
“Warren was anesthetized to have a mold made of a cracked tusk in order to have a prosthetic covering sculpted to prevent further cracking, damage and possible infection at the root. Approximately 20 minutes into the actual procedure, Warren’s respiration slowed then stopped. Emergency procedures were carried out, but were unsuccessful,” zoo staff said in the Facebook statement on the death.
At this moment, the cause of death is unknown. The zoo plans to perform a necropsy in the near future to get a better understanding of this unfortunate event.
Warren had only been with the zoo a little more than one year, arriving from Swaziland in March 2016.
In May of 2017, Warren’s keepers noticed the cracks that led to his procedure. Warren’s tusks were shaved in an effort to stop the progression of the cracks. New cracks in Warren’s tusks appeared in August, causing the zoo to seek out prosthetics to solve the issue.
“Because the tusk is a living tooth that grows throughout the elephant’s life, the veterinary team was concerned the cracks would progress and lead to a serious infection,” zoo staff explained in the Facebook post, about why action was necessary.
Warren’s death has left the zoo staff “very sad” as they try to move forward and learn from this tragic incident.