Tiny Zim elephant calf loses brave fight for life

2015-10-31 16:46
Zuva (Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery)

Zuva (Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery)

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Zimbabwe - A tiny elephant rescued after he was found abandoned in parched southern Zimbabwe has died, the nursery that was caring for him in Harare has announced.

Zuva was airlifted to Harare from the Save Conservancy two weeks ago after he was found alone and exhausted next to a dry waterhole. He was only a few days old and his navel needed care.

The last few days have been touch and go. On Friday he finally gave up the fight.

"Little Zuva died [Friday]. We are all heartbroken and somewhat bewildered by this tremendous loss of a brave young elephant calf," said the Zimbabwe Elephant Nursery in a post to Facebook.

"Zuva fought a very tough battle," it added.

News of his passing was not entirely unexpected: regular updates over the past few days said he was not gaining strength. The calf was being watched round the clock by teams of men.

He also had the company of the elephant nursery's dog Josephine, charged with "keeping his spirits up and guarding him through the night".

Dozens of comments flooded in to the nursery's page as soon as the announcement of Zuva's death was made.

Beth Wyndham wrote: "I am so so sorry. I know you all did everything you could but he was so young. RIP little Zuva."

The nursery cares for five other elephant calves. Three of them narrowly escaped being sent to China along with 24 calves captured in Hwange late last year. They were left behind because they had pre-existing injuries.

The institution lost another calf last month: a 15-month old male who'd been called Kariba. He had been found injured and alone in Kariba, a resort town in northern Zimbabwe. He died on the operating table.

The plight of Zimbabwe's elephants is in the news at the moment following a spate of horrific poisonings using cyanide. Sixty-two elephants are now known to have died in Hwange and Kariba. Worried by the tragedy - and the bad press it is causing Zimbabwe - the state tax authority has been instructed to keep records of individuals and companies importing cyanide so that it is easier to trace poachers, the official Herald newspaper reported on Friday.

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