Zurich Zoo has euthanised an elderly bull elephant after his condition deteriorated due to age-related problems.
Maxi, as the pachyderm was called, was euthanised on Monday after losing a lot of weight in recent months. According to the zoo, his molars were worn out to the extent that he was unable to get sufficient nutrition from the food he was given. He was having difficulty getting up despite being given special supplements and painkillers.
Born in 1969 in Thailand, Maxi was sent to England two years later, where he was displayed in various zoos and a circus. He came to Zurich Zoo in 1981 and remained there ever since. His unique feature were his massive curved tusks that would have reached a length of three metres if he hadn’t broken off bits periodically. At his peak the bull elephant weighed 5.6 tons.
Maxi is survived by 12 direct descendants, 21 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His body is being examined by the Institute of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Zurich, which is investigating age-related changes. The tusks will be returned to the zoo and shall be used for educational purposes.