fbpx Warsaw Zoo hopes cannabis can help depressed elephant deal with loss of elder

Warsaw Zoo hopes cannabis can help depressed elephant deal with loss of elder

Twitter icon

They say elephants never forget, but workers at a zoo in Poland are hoping CBD can at least ease the pain a young female is dealing with after a death in her family.

The Warsaw Zoo lost one of its four elephants — and the herd’s eldest female — in March. It was a tragic development that has left a female named Fredzia struggling with depression and anxiety, according to the BBC.

“Fredzia reacted strangely when she saw Erna’s body. She was really excited,” said Agnieszka Czujkowska, a doctor and head of the zoo’s animal rehabilitation department. “But you could see that she was also grieving actually, she was also depressed.”

Friedzia has struggled since then to form a connection with Buba, another female elephant at the zoo. Elephants have exceptionally good memories when it comes to their friends and enemies and it can take years for some to deal with loss and re-establish a sense of balance with their herd. Zookeepers are hoping that CBD — a non-intoxicating component of cannabis that possesses therapeutic value — can help facilitate the process.

Elephants are thought to be good candidates for the experiment because they are prone to experiencing stress and are relatively easy to observe. “When Erna passed away, everything changed,” Czujkowska said. “I don’t think Fredzia was ready for such a big change.

“Fredzia is always thinking about what Buba is doing now, before that she was more calm.”

Zookeepers have completed the first stage of the experiment, which involved collecting saliva, feces and blood samples from the elephants to allow them to carefully monitor their production of cortisol — a hormone produced by humans and animals when they are subjected to stress.

“We are planning to give them the CBD and measure the cortisol again,” Czujkowska said. “This is the experiment. Then we know for sure if (the oil) is working or not.

The CBD will be given to the animals orally, either directly into their mouths or mixed with their food and Czujkowska does not anticipate any negative effects. “It’s not very potent,” she said. “The only side effect will be some behavioural changes. We will have to manage these to achieve the results we want.”

Czujkowska said she believes it is the first time such an experiment has been conducted on elephants. The results of the experiment are not expected for two years but, If successful, the zoo hopes to use CBD to treat other animals — such as rhinos and bears — that are experiencing similar levels of anxiety.

It has been a stressful year for everyone, Czujkowska said, and animals, like humans, are coping the best they can. “But Fredzia is all alone and she needs (help) to manage it.”

e-mail icon Facebook icon Twitter icon LinkedIn icon Reddit icon
Rate this article: 
Article category: 
Regional Marijuana News: