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Three elephants die in bizarre separate tragedies at Port Lympne and Howletts

Elephants at Howletts
Elephants at Howletts

African elephants at Howletts

Three elephants have died in a bizarre triple tragedy at two wild animal parks.

The deaths, coming within days of each other, have shocked keepers and staff at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and its sister site Howletts.

Swana, a female elephant born at Howletts in 1985, was injured in a fight with another female in the herd on April 2, but was left unable to get up afterwards.

She is believed to be only the second elephant to be born at Howletts.

Keepers took the difficult decision to put her to sleep.

Then, on Wednesday this week, another female at Howletts at Bekesbourne, named Stavit, collapsed after being treated for an infection to one of her back legs.

The 26-year-old African bush elephant was also put to sleep.

In a bizarre separate tragedy, another female bush elephant - this time at Port Lympne - was discovered by keepers yesterday unable to get to her feet.

Firefighters were called in to help, but when exhaustion overcame her, efforts to raise her were stopped.

The 19-year-old was lowered into a comfortable position to allow her to recover, and was eating and drinking.

But Issa's condition deteriorated through the night and she later died.

An animal rescue fire crew from Faversham was at the park from 8.40am until 6.40pm last night.

A spokesman for the parks said: "Vets and expert keepers, assisted by KF&R (Kent Fire and Rescue), worked hard in all three cases to get the animals back to their feet.

"Sadly, the animals did not have the strength to carry on."

Adrian Harland, animal director, said: "The deaths are unfortunate but almost certainly completely coincidental.

"They do not appear at this stage to be in any way connected to each other."

The parks are carrying out full post mortems, to include pathology and toxicology reports.

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