Ill Shang­hai zoo ele­phant re­cov­er­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Banna the ele­phant, a star at­trac­tion at the Shang­hai Zoo, suf­fered from heat­stroke on Mon­day fol­low­ing a month of 35 C days in the city. How­ever, the an­i­mal has been re­ceiv­ing med­i­ca­tion and is im­prov­ing, the zoo said on Thurs­day.

The 53-year-old Asian ele­phant, which has been at the zoo longer than any of the other 7,000 an­i­mals there, was found on Mon­day af­ter­noon ly­ing on one side on the ground.

“The ele­phant had been stand­ing since she gave birth to her first calf in 1978,” said He Weiguang, a spokesman for the Shang­hai Zoo.

“A calf usu­ally sleeps un­der the mother’s stom­ach, and the ele­phant has an ex­traor­di­nar­ily strong moth­er­ing in­stinct and doesn’t want to hurt the calf, so since then she has main­tained the habit of stand­ing all the time,” he said.

She is eat­ing more these days and can stand by her­self, ac­cord­ing to the zoo.

Ini­tial tests found that Banna had a tem­per­a­ture of 38 C, up from the nor­mal 36 C. All other in­di­ca­tors were nor­mal.

The ele­phant was im­me­di­ately given med­i­cal treat­ment, in­clud­ing in­tra­mus­cu­lar and in­tra­venous in­jec­tions. Its body tem­per­a­ture dropped to 37.1 C the next morn­ing.

A doc­tor from the in­fec­tious dis­ease depart­ment of Fu­dan Univer­sity’s Zhong­shan Hos­pi­tal and an­i­mal ex­perts from Shang­hai Wild An­i­mal Park and Bei­jing Zoo were con­vened for a con­sul­ta­tion on Tues­day morn­ing and agreed that it was im­por­tant for the ele­phant to stand as soon as pos­si­ble.

“We feared that its colos­sal body would put huge pres­sure on its heart, lungs and gas­troin­testi­nal tract if it kept ly­ing there,” said Gui Jian­feng, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Zoo’s an­i­mal hos­pi­tal.

At noon on Tues­day, Banna fi­nally stood up with the help of a heavy­duty crane. She still has a bit of a fever but her ap­petite has al­most re­cov­ered, He said.

Xu Jian­hua, a feeder at the zoo, said the ele­phants stay in­doors on summer days and are taken out­doors for a walk af­ter sun­set.

“They are also given spray show­ers from time to time to cool off on scorch­ing days,” he said.

Spray show­ers are also avail­able to mon­keys, tigers and chim­panzees, He said, adding that tigers and bears spend a lot of time in the wa­ter cool­ing off.

Pan­das are the only an­i­mals at the zoo that get air-con­di­tioned rooms.

Most an­i­mals are also pro­vided with wa­ter­mel­ons, cu­cum­bers and toma­toes on a daily ba­sis.

ZHOU XIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

With the help of a heavy-duty crane, Banna the ele­phant gets to her feet on Tues­day at the Shang­hai Zoo. Keep­ers found her ly­ing on her side and said she had suf­fered heat­stroke. Keep­ers wor­ried that the prone po­si­tion could dam­age her in­ter­nal or­gans.

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