The mother, Seeni, was a victim of the horrific elephant culls of South Africa more than two decades ago. When her family was murdered, she was left alone, without a mother to teach her how to one day take care of her own calves.
She was sent to a park where they hoped to use her as a breeding elephant . But the fact that she had no motherly instinct would doom her first calf. When she finally became pregnant and gave birth, she refused to take care of it and the baby died soon afterwards.
Even knowing her history, officials still tried to breed her when she was moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo’s breeding facility in 2011. In May of this year Seeni gave birth to a premature female. It was separated from her soon afterwards as Seeni wasn’t producing milk and after losing several pounds and going under surgery, officials finally decided the best thing to do was to put the unnamed baby elephant down.
According to experts, Seeni should never have been bred again. She didn’t display the proper motherly traits and she has gone through serious trauma that affects her to this day. They believe mating her would only result in another tragic loss of life or - at best - would result in a baby that would not know how to rear its own calves when the time comes.
If the Pittsburgh Zoo’s breeding facility ( the International Conservation Center) really has the conservation of elephants in mind, they should not continue to breed Seeni who has shown herself to be incapable of rearing young. Breeding her has already resulted in the loss of two beautiful baby elephants and the trauma of Seeni herself.
Tell the Pittsburgh Zoo to do the right thing. Tell them to take Seeni out of their elephant breeding program and instead send her to a certified sanctuary where she can live out the rest of her days in peace.