Melbourne Zoo is mourning the death of beloved Asian bull elephant Bong Su 40 years after his arrival.
Bong Su had been undergoing treatment for arthritis since 2005 after the elephant was diagnosed with degenerative joint disease.
But recently Bong Su’s condition deteriorated to the point he needed more help to relieve his suffering including anti-inflammatory medication, massage, and laser therapy.
But Melbourne Zoo said the medication and treatments were no longer comfortable and were left with little choice but to end Bong Su’s pain through euthanasia.
“Euthanasia is a last resort, only taken to end or prevent an animal’s suffering,” zoo director Kevin Tanner said.
The decision was made after the zoo’s head vet Dr Michael Lynch determined Bong Su was experiencing an unacceptable level of pain.
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The elephant arrived at the zoo in 1977 from Malaysia as a gift from the Sultan of Pahang.
Melbourne Zoo said Bong Su had fives calves – four in Melbourne and one at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.
Bong Su’s oldest offspring, Mali, 7, was the first elephant calf born at Melbourne Zoo. All five were born with aid of artificial insemination.