Underweight Asian elephant dies

May 19, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., May 19 (UPI) -- An underweight Asian elephant seized from a Florida circus trainer has died at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., animal welfare officials said.

Ned, age 21, weighed 6,800 pounds when he died on Friday. The elephant had ulcers in his intestine, pancreas and other organs, a necropsy showed.

He should have weighed at least another ton and could have lived to be 60 or 70 if he was healthy, The St. Petersburg, Fla., Times reported Tuesday.

Ned was seized six months ago from Lance Ramos, also known as Lancelot Kollman, who was charged in 2005 with physically abusing two lions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. Last month, a federal judge revoked Ramos's USDA license.

Ramos said Ned was always a picky eater and weighed 7,500 pounds when animal welfare officials seized him.

"So when they took the elephant from me they thought that I had starved and neglected it," Ramos said. "And it still died. So they must've starved and neglected it, too."

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