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Ailing young elephant passes away at Aichi Pref. zoo

In this file photo taken on Jan. 5, 2014, Mara practices walking in a pool made especially for her rehabilitation exercises, at the Toyohashi Zoo and Botanical Park in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture. (Photo courtesy of the Toyohashi Zoo and Botanical Park)

TOYOHASHI, Aichi -- Young Asian elephant Mara passed away on Aug. 13 at the Toyohashi Zoo and Botanical Park here. She was 5 years and 11 months old, and succumbed to a twisted intestine.

    Mara was born at the zoo in September 2011. It is extremely difficult to breed elephants in captivity, and Mara was the fourth Asian elephant to be born in Japan. Mara was neglected by her mother, and in January 2013, it was discovered that she had broken bones in both of her front legs.

    The strength in all four of her limbs fell to the point where Mara could no longer stand. However, she continued physical therapy that included walking practice in a pool. Her indomitable spirit made her popular among visitors.

    According to the zoo, Mara had been suffering from diarrhea for the last few days, but her appetite was unchanged, and she underwent her rehabilitation exercises as usual in the morning. However, roughly 50 minutes later, she stopped moving and floated sideways in the pool. The zoo keepers attempted to revive her, but discovered that she had stopped breathing.

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