Melbourne Zoo Saddened by Sudden Death of Elephant Calf Sanook

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By Christine Lazaro | December 5, 2013 11:59 AM EST

The popular elephant calf Sanook who came all the way from Thai to Australia and got its name from popular online votes passed away at the Melbourne Zoo on a Wednesday morning.

The elephant got his head caught as he played with his favourite tyre at the popular zoo, Yahoo Australia reports. Mr Kevin Tanner, the zoo's director stated that Sanook's death was due to an accident while playing with the tyre. The scene of the accident was captured by their CCTV cameras.

The footage showed Sanook playing with a big tyre suspended in his own barn. He manoeuvred it in a way that the tyre caught his head. Mr Tanner thought that the pressure around his neck caused him to have trouble breathing. Eventually, the after death results confirmed Mr Tanner's assumption as the cause.

The zoo director added that the death of elephant calf Sanook left their staff including the keepers and the rest of the zoo community sad and devastated. They insist though that no other similar accident has happened before within the Melbourne zoo.

(Credit: YouTube/DailyMailTube)

It is common for zoos around the world to use tyres as a toy for animals like elephants since it is an approved tool for their developmental activities. It was Tuesday when Sanook was last seen playing around and even feeding from his elephant mum Num-Oi. The elephant calf was found lifeless morning of the following day.

The elephant calf Sanook who would have been 1 year old in January is the youngest among the other three calves in the Melbourne zoo.

ABC recalls how well loved Sanook has been since the time of his arrival that there were more than 4,000 Victorians who voted online to come up with his name. Sanook's name in Thai means "fun loving and cheerful".

The Minister for Victoria's Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith added that Sanook will always be remembered as the cheeky and confident elephant that everyone loves. At birth, he weighed a total of 131 kilograms.

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