Oregon Zoo elephant Chendra has miscarriage

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Chendra's pregnancy took zoo keepers by surprise this summer

Asian elephant Chendra in the North Meadow habitat, part of Elephant Lands at the Oregon Zoo. (© Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Chendra, a 26-year-old Asian Elephant who became unexpectedly pregnant earlier this year has had a miscarriage.

Oregon Zoo officials said veterinarians became concerned in September when her progesterone levels dropped. Further testing confirmed she’d had a miscarriage.

“Miscarriages, sadly, are common in most mammal species, including elephants and even humans,” said zoo veterinarian Kelly Flaminio in a press release. “We tend not to talk about it a lot because it can be a painful subject, but most of us know someone who’s been through this type of loss.”

Her pregnancy ended after about 8 months of what is usually a 22-month gestation period for elephants.

Veterinarians are now focused on keeping Chendra healthy and comfortable. She is also be treated for tuberculosis, which officials said is not the cause of her miscarriage.

The end of the pregnancy makes it easier to treat her TB, but officials said it’s unlikely she will get pregnant again at her age.

Elephant keeper Bob Lee said this miscarriage is even sadder because her pregnancy was such a happy surprise and she had such a rough start to life.

“We knew this was a possibility, but that doesn’t make it any easier,” Lee said in a press release. “We were all so excited for Chendra. Raising a calf is one of the most enriching things in an elephant’s life, and we really hoped this was her chance to experience that.”

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