A zoo has launched an investigation after one of its bull elephants fatally injured another in a brutal night-time attack.
M’Changa, a 12-year-old African elephant, had been sleeping when the other struck in the early hours.
He died shortly after the incident at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, near Wraxall, North Somerset.
Noah’s Ark has three bull elephants as part of its 20-acre Elephant Eden facility.
The elephants have 24-hour access to the outside areas and the zoo has previously won awards for best practice.
M’Changa was transferred to the UK from Boras Zoo in Sweden in 2014. Noah’s Ark is also home to males Janu, 16, and Shaka, 29.
Shaka arrived from a zoo in Vienna in 2018. It was the first time he had been successfully integrated into another group of elephants.
At the time zookeepers hoped the move would see Shaka act as a ‘dominant bull’ and a mentor to the two younger males.
Zoo officials said Janu and Shaka were not injured but denied to name the attacker.
Larry Bush, managing director of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, said: ‘The Noah’s Ark team are incredibly passionate about all the animals at the zoo and M’Changa’s loss will be felt very deeply.
‘He will be missed dearly by all staff as well as our members and visitors. We will continue to help promote and contribute to the conservation of elephants into the future.’
Noah’s Ark’s elephants have been key in conservation efforts and the bulls can be transferred to other zoos to contribute to breeding programmes.
There are 50 elephants in 11 zoos and safari parks in the United Kingdom.