Columbus Zoo and Aquarium officials said a bloody feud Sunday between two female Asian elephants appears to be over disciplining a younger pachyderm.
Dusty Lombardi, the zoo’s director of living collections, said 25-year-old Phoebe, mother of 3-year-old son, Beco, was correcting the young elephant when her 38-year-old "aunt," Connie, disapproved of the punishment and made her feelings known by shoving her, which started a fight between the two, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
The fracas was witnessed by zoo visitors, leaving some alarmed.
"It's 100 percent normal behavior that we'll always see with females and a young male," Lombardi told the Dispatch. "What made it noticeable was that Phoebe had broken her tusk in April, it hasn't healed and there was some blood."
Lombardi said the elephants were separated for a short time, but that zookeepers did not change their exhibit or social grouping.
"Beco knows how to play Connie and Phoebe, just like a human kid," Lombardi told the newspaper. "He's a punk. But we want him to be. It’s healthy for him."
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