Report: Montgomery Zoo exonerated in elephant deaths

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) --  A report released Friday exonerates the Montgomery Zoo on the deaths of two elephants.

Montgomery Zoo officials tell WSFA 12 News the final necropsy report shows the deaths weren't related to breeding elephants in zoos.

Critics of zoo breeding dispute that conclusion. They say the mother elephant's abdominal health problems wouldn't have occurred in the wild.  But zoo officials disagree and say the report shows the 23 year old African elephant would have died with her intestinal problems outside of captivity.

The necropsy showed her male calf, weighing 200-plus pounds, died from a rare fungus infection resulting in heart failure.

"I feel that we did everything we absolutely could for these elephants. I was here day and night for 30 days with this baby. We had staff that was here that worked literally day and night," said Montgomery Zoo veterinarian Dr. Jack Kottwitz.

The Montgomery Zoo does currently have a two year old elephant that vets say is healthy.