A sweet-tempered, middle-aged elephant named Annie was found dead in her Los Angeles Zoo pen Saturday morning, the victim of a debilitating salmonella infection, officials said.
Elephant keepers were “devastated” by the death of the 30-year-old Asian elephant, one of five at the zoo. They had been treating her for diarrhea for about a week, said principal animal keeper Jennie McNary.
“Once she started not feeling well, she really wasn’t eating that well,” McNary said. “We tried to give her things that would not be an irritant to her stomach. We gave her bananas and cooked rice,” instead of her usual diet of hay, fruit, vegetables and vitamin supplements.
Keepers also fed Annie huge quantities of water and electrolytes similar to Gatorade to restore her fluid and nutrient levels.
The salmonella bacteria commonly lies dormant in animals’ intestines, and can be passed through their fecal matter. Zookeepers are watching other animals for signs of illness.