Join our zoo community

Flushing an Elephant done the Lav.

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Johnny Morris., 24 May 2015.

  1. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    593
    Location:
    Newport Wales UK
    Sorry about the title, but while visiting a zoo the other day, the Mrs asked me how they would go about disposing of a deceased Elephant. I haven't got the foggiest so i told her i'd ask on here. Would they bury or burn it? Would they chop it up first? I know it's morbid but it got us pondering.
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,330
    Location:
    omnipresent
    a necropsy would usually be performed in the first instance to determine cause of death (or for other reasons). The body itself is incinerated afterwards: in the case of a large animal the body has to be dismembered first.

    In some cases body parts may be retained for education purposes (skulls etc) but I'm not sure of the laws around that in the UK now.
     
  3. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    20 Jul 2008
    Posts:
    593
    Location:
    Newport Wales UK
    Thanks for the reply. I assumed that a larger animal would have to be dismembered, but wasn't sure. We also discussed the possibility of the carcass being fed to other animals at the zoo, but i'm sure this wouldn't be allowed.
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,330
    Location:
    omnipresent
    if the animal died "naturally" then it certainly wouldn't [shouldn't] be fed to anything because the cause of death would be unknown. In the case of certain species which are culled as surplus (e.g. deer or wallabies, say) then there would be no issue to feeding them to carnivores apart for the "moral" one (i.e. public perception) - I believe UK safari parks, at least, use carcasses from their deer herds in this fashion. An elephant would never be fed to other animals, at least in the UK. In the past, and even now in other countries, that would not hold true (e.g. Rajah a bull elephant at Auckland Zoo in New Zealand was fed to the zoo's carnivores after he was shot in 1936: http://www.zoochat.com/1951/rajah-elephant-auckland-museum-294823/).
     
  5. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,414
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Here in the USA, at an AZA accredited zoo (and probably some other zoos), a necropsy is performed on any animal that dies in the zoo. This includes common wild birds that are found on grounds. The body is then incinerated. In case of elephant or similar, yes they have to cut it into smaller pieces first. I imagine large zoos have on-site incinerators and smaller zoos have arrangements with city or university facilities. At my local zoo (Reid Park, Tucson) they send the carcasses to an incinerator operated by the veterinary pathology lab at the University of Arizona (a facility which is not on campus but is isolated next to the freeway).
     
  6. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    3,640
    Location:
    South Devon
    There was a problem at Chester in 1964 when an elephant collapsed and died suddenly. No cause was found at the autopsy. The carcase was butchered before removal and some of the meat was stored for future use while further tests were performed. A keeper took some of this meat, apparently without authorisation, and fed it to some small carnivores. They all died within a day. The tests showed an infection of anthrax. In spite of large doses of penicillin two more elephants soon died, followed by a third which reacted badly to the penicillin. Those three bodies were removed through the back wall of the elephant house (which was mostly heavy gauge plastic sheeting) and burnt, I presume in what is now the car park, under police supervision. It took three days.
    Fortunately, none of the zoo staff or the public developed the disease.
    More details in the old book 'Zoo without Bars'.

    Alan
     
  7. Pacu

    Pacu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    197
    Location:
    UK
    My understanding is that deceased animals can be fed to carnivores at another collection but not at the collection at which they died (taking into account the above comments about cause of death, culling etc). Not sure how this works at zoos with two sites such as London and Howletts. Of course zoo can raise animals specifically as food but these tend to be rodents, domestic fowl etc.
    On a slightly different note, is it still the case that rendered cats and dogs can be used as pet food in the USA?
     
  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    5 Dec 2006
    Posts:
    16,420
    Location:
    england
    I have seen photos on Zoochat of Lions at Woburn tackling a Deer carcass that obviously came from the adjacent Deer Park- either as a cull or a road kill. Maybe that's classed as 'another collection' if indeed this is a rule.
     
  9. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,414
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Personally, I think feeding deceased ungulates to carnivores makes a lot of sense. However, I can tell you in the United States it would never happen at an AZA facility, and probably not at any other zoo.
     
  10. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    3,640
    Location:
    South Devon
    Surely it depends how they became deceased :confused:

    Alan
     
  11. karoocheetah

    karoocheetah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    1,107
    Location:
    Cheshire
    Some elephant carcasses have been buried in past rather than burnt - I believe that historically that happened at Chester at least once although I do not know where in the grounds that would have occurred.
     
  12. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,414
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    No it does not depend. The reason it cannot be done is because the American public is so sentimental and the animal rights extremists are so active in this country that there would be a public outcry. It would cause more trouble for the zoo staff than it is worth.
     
  13. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    3,640
    Location:
    South Devon
    I think you have missed my point. The public in America may object to feeding whole carcases in zoos, but do they object to feeding carnivores with ungulates that have been slaughtered and butchered in the same way as the ones they eat themselves?

    Alan
     
  14. SMR

    SMR Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22 Oct 2009
    Posts:
    1,125
    Location:
    Chester
    'Nobby' is buried by the tree in the camel/onager paddock.
     
  15. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    5,414
    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    Yes, believe it or not, they would object. Logically it makes no sense, but the absence of logic is a trait that is found wherever people dwell.
     
  16. Zooplantman

    Zooplantman Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 Jan 2008
    Posts:
    2,909
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I can think of several zoos where large animals such as elephants are buried.

    Although I like your idea about flushing them down the loo with the goldfish.
     
  17. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,330
    Location:
    omnipresent
    what on earth are American zoos feeding to their large carnivores if using ungulate meat "would never happen at an AZA facility, and probably not at any other zoo."? :confused:
     
  18. Pacu

    Pacu Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Mar 2009
    Posts:
    197
    Location:
    UK
    Pertinax, deer from the adjacent deer park at Woburn would count as managed domestic stock and regular culls would be expected, so that wouldn't be an issue. As far as burying the deceased, there are a number of exotic creatures, including lions buried in my local park, so if you borrowed some geo phys equipment,you could find some interesting souvenirs (as long as you didn't get caught!)
     
  19. ROY CROPPER

    ROY CROPPER Member

    Joined:
    8 Apr 2015
    Posts:
    13
    Location:
    NORTH WEST ENGLAND
    Nobby I believe was an adult male Asian elephant who sired Jubilee, the first elephant to be born in a U.K. zoo in 1977. Sadly he never saw his son as he was shot dead in a residential area nearby after escaping from the zoo, not a very jubilant episode and one I am sure Chester Zoo would like to be flushed down the lavatory.:(
     
  20. karoocheetah

    karoocheetah Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    1,107
    Location:
    Cheshire
    I don't feel that Chester Zoo have ever hidden any aspects of their long history, they, like many other attractions might chose to accentuate the positive rather than dwell on the negative but I don't think they have ever deliberately misled the public.