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San Diego Zoo Elephant Dies After Fight

Trainers believe another elephant killed dominant female
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2011 12:54 AM CST
San Diego Zoo Elephant Dies After Fight
Umoya with her 3-month-old calf at the zoo last year.   (AP Photo/San Diego Zoo, Ken Bohn)

(Newser) – A murder mystery at San Diego Zoo: Umoya, one of the zoo herd's dominant females, was found dead yesterday after apparently suffering injuries in a fight with another elephant. The elephant was on the ground when trainers found her and she died soon after—although her wounds did not appear severe enough to be fatal, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

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The 21-year-old elephant, mother of two calves, was one of seven elephants brought to the zoo in 2003 from Swaziland, where authorities had planned to kill them because of elephant overpopulation. The zoo allowed the herd to mourn Umoya as they would in the wild. Some of the animals "were over there touching her, some of them were just standing by her. When it was time, they walked away,” said a zoo spokeswoman. Her two calves, 4 years old, and just 18 months old, "were with that last group of animals to walk away," she added. (Read more San Diego Zoo stories.)

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