USDA says Topeka Zoo’s elephant program passes inspection

(Photo Courtesy: Topeka Zoo)

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Following the death of Shannon the elephant, a Veterinary Medical Officer of the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA began a focused inspection on the Topeka Zoo’s elephant program.

The inspection began on Jan. 3 and ended Tuesday, Jan. 16. The zoo was presented with a report showing there were not any non-compliant items found during the inspection.

“I think the USDA was very impressed with our preparedness to address a down elephant situation,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “Significant time was spent during the inspection to identify whether or not key staff were appropriately involved during the 24-hour period before Shannon passed.”

The actual cause of death for Shannon still has not been determined.

A gross necropsy was performed on Dec. 11. and tissue samples were collected for a histopathology evaluation. That is being done by the K-State Veterinary Pathology Department.

“We are still waiting for the pathologist,” Wiley said. “We know her lungs were fine.  Her joints and feet were fine.  She did not experience capture myopathy.  We do know that she wasn’t absorbing nutrients appropriately and there were abnormalities with her heart and spleen.  We have to wait for the pathologist to summarize his findings before we can say for sure an official determination can be made.”

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