According to Zoo Officials, Rani, a 27-year-old female elephant at St. Louis Zoo, died soon after her herd got agitated because of a small dog running loose. Rani passed away on Friday, however, the Zoo released the news of her death on Tuesday.

Zoo Director Michael Macek announced Rani’s death in a news release, We are absolutely devastated. We ask for the community’s thoughts and support during this difficult time.”

“Our team of professional animal care experts did everything possible, but we couldn’t save Rani,” He further added.

On Friday, a small dog without any leash was spotted running loose near the Elephant Barn in an area closed to the general public. Elephant care workers were trying to catch the dog when another elephant became agitated on seeing the dog and was quickly taken inside the barn.

While all this was taking place outside, Rani was inside the barn eating in her barn. She had not seen the dog, nor was she near the dog. However, members of the Elephant Care team reported that Rani got disturbed and upset upon hearing vocalizations from other elephants in the herd. As per the news release from St. Louis Zoo, members of the Elephant Care Team saw Rani circling,  and vocalizing for a very short period before collapsing.

The team of professional animal care experts at St. Louis Zoo “did everything possible” to revive Rani, but all attempts to save the 27-year-old female elephant were unsuccessful. The rest of her herd calmed down within a short time and is also doing well. The zoo staff also managed to catch the small dog, and it was turned over to a shelter. It is not clear where the dog came from as the zoo does not allow any pets.

Rani came to St. Louis Zoo with her mother Ellie, from another Zoo in 2001. Ellie aged 52 is still alive and living at the zoo. Rani had two sisters Maliha and Priya, who she enjoyed playing with. She also has a 16-year-old daughter. Following her death, all members of the Elephant Care Team, current and past, along with all the elephants, spent some time with Rani to bid farewell to her.

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