Zoo says Chai the elephant died from teeth issue

Posted at 8:01 AM, Mar 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 09:01:21-04

SEATTLE (AP) -- Oklahoma City officials say the death of an Asian elephant that was transferred from Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo was likely due to an abnormality in her teeth that prevented her from chewing food properly.

KCPQ-TV reports the 37-year-old elephant named Chai died Jan. 30, months after she was moved to the Oklahoma City Zoo in May 2015.

Zoo officials said in a news release Monday that the necropsy findings determined Chai "most likely" had a congenital abnormality on the surfaces of her molars that reduced her ability to extract caloric content from food.

Monday's announcement comes after a Seattle-based advocacy group called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate Chai's death over concerns that the Oklahoma City Zoo wasn't equipped to care for the animal.

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