'We've lost a piece of our heart': One of Taronga Zoo's most beloved elephants Jai Dee dies suddenly aged just three
Animal lovers are mourning the loss of one of Taronga Zoos most beloved inhabitants.
The adorable three-year-old Asian elephant, Jai Dee, suddenly died at the iconic Sydney zoo on Tuesday afternoon leaving wildlife staff heartbroken and in shock.
He began showing signs ofabdominal pain yesterday morning and was urgently attended to byTaronga Wildlife Hospital staff with a full emergency response.
'This was a very sad and sudden event,'Senior Veterinarian, Dr Larry Vogelnest said.
'The preliminary cause of death has been identified as a torsion in the intestines, or twisted bowel as it is sometimes called. This can happen in other species not just elephants and is often fatal.'
Jai Dee's condition rapidlydeteriorated despite close monitoring and medication.
Considered to be one of the most popular attractions, the loveable creaturewas born at Taronga Zoo in May 2017 and lived with his doting mother mother Pak Boon and Aunt Tang Mo.
He was known for his 'cheeky personality' and 'playful antics' which included swimming in the enclosure's pond and splashing water around with his trunk.
Taronga Director and CEO Cameron Kerr said his team are in 'a state of deep shock and grief'.
'He was part of our Zoo family and we are beyond devastated by his loss,' he said.
'Our immediate focus turns towards supporting our Zoo Keepers through this difficult period, which for them is like losing a family member.
'In his time with us, his cheeky spirit and playful antics including a fondness for swimming has endeared him to guests both locally and from around the world.'
Jai Dee was named after the Thai word for heart.
Mr Kerr said: 'Today we lost a piece of Taronga's heart by his sad passing.'
'The entire Taronga family is in mourning for Jai Dee, and no doubt the other elephants will be mourning his loss as much as we are.'
Jai Dee was part of Taronga Zoo's commitment to its regional breeding program for the endangered species.