Omaha zoo elephant dies during procedure to repair cracked tusk

One of the zoo’s elephants has died.

Warren, an 8 or 9-year-old male African elephant, came to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo from Swaziland in 2016.

Warren had a cracked tusk that zookeepers were concerned would become infected. He was anesthetized for a procedure that would lead to a metal cap being placed on the end of his tusk to prevent further cracking.

During the procedure, the elephant stopped breathing and could not be revived.

“This is really a sad day for the staff at the zoo. Warren was one of their favorites,” zoo curator Dan Cassidy said during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

After his death, zoo officials closed off the elephant building. Each of the elephants touched Warren to grieve, Cassidy said.

Dr. Doug Armstrong, the zoo’s director of animal health, said all of the elephants that came to Omaha from Africa had been tranquilized before with no problems.

A necropsy will be performed by the zoo’s veterinary pathologist, Alison Righton.

Warren came to the zoo in March 2016. The cracks were noticed in May 2017.

In July, the elephant had his tusks trimmed to resolve the issue, but new cracks began forming.

“He acted so tough but he was so small,” Cassidy said of Warren, who loved to spar with other young elephants Claire and Lolly. “They’ll be looking for him for the next few days.”

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