Zoo keepers are “distraught” after an elephant died following an incident with another bull elephant.
African elephant M’Changa, aged 12, was left with fatal injuries following the attack at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, North Somerset.
The incident occurred when another bull elephant went into the area where M’Changa was asleep in the early hours of Friday morning.
An investigation has now been launched into the incident.
Larry Bush, Managing Director of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, said: "It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of one of our male African Elephants, M’Changa.
"Our dedicated team of Elephant keepers are understandably distraught over this recent event, and we are doing all that we can to support them during this difficult time.
"A full review is now in progress, including an investigation into events surrounding the incident and looking at future plans to establish the best way forward for the elephant programme at Noah’s Ark.
"The bull elephant group have 24-hour access to the outside and inside areas of their enclosure. They are typically social animals so having the option of being together is an important part of elephant welfare.
"The facility, Elephant Eden, has been previously commended on its best practice with specialist elephant keepers, 20 acres of space to roam and extensive efforts made for enrichment and sustaining healthy, active elephants.
"Our other bull elephants, Shaka and Janu are unharmed."
M’Changa arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in 2014 from Boras Zoo in Sweden and very quickly became an integral part of the male bachelor group of elephants.
Janu also arrived in 2014 and Shaka, in 2018. After a lengthy process of introduction, all three elephants have successfully lived together for over three years.
The elephants play a hugely important role as a male population that can be transferred to other facilities as breeding bulls to contribute to breeding programmes.
A senior spokesperson at the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums said: “BIAZA is saddened to hear of the news of the unfortunate loss of an elephant at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.
"The Zoo has one of the largest elephant facilities in the UK and Europe and the bachelor elephant group at Noah’s Ark plays a key supporting role serving wider African Elephant conservation efforts as an important part of the European Endangered Species Programme.
"Our thoughts are with the dedicated elephant care staff at Noah’s Ark.”
In the wild, African Elephants are Endangered according to the IUCN red list. They are threatened by poaching for ivory and habitat loss due to continuing human population expansion.
Bull elephants are large and powerful animals. Their behaviour in the wild and in zoos, canoften typically be active, boisterous and can at times be aggressive.