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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Zoo pair involved in tusky tussle
Gay and Duchess usually get on very well

Two female elephants have been split up at night after a tussle left one of them injured, staff at a Devon zoo said on Thursday.

Keepers at Paignton Zoo acted after discovering that Gay, an Asian elephant, had wounds apparently caused by the tusks of Duchess, an African.

The pair, who both weigh four tonnes and are aged about 35, have lived together happily since 1977.

Their squabble left Gay with grazes on her right eye and left side.

Zoo spokesman Philip Knowling said: "The two girls had a bit of a tiff but they have made up now. No-one saw it because it was at night.

"The most likely thing is that they had a contretemps about something, but that's not definite.

"When two four-tonne elephants have even the briefest falling out it seems big, but really Gay's got a couple of grazes equal to a playground squabble or falling off your skateboard."

The two elephants, who are in their middle age, have been temporarily separated overnight, although they continue to spend the day together and have been behaving normally.

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