Two elephants killed by deadly virus at Syracuse zoo
Namibia auctioning off 170 ‘high value’ wild elephants
‘World’s loneliest elephant’ finally makes a friend
‘World’s loneliest elephant’ is on the move
Two baby elephants at an upstate New York zoo died just days apart due to a “lethal” strain of herpes that targets their species.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse said it lost Batu, a 5-year-old Asian elephant, on Friday, three days after the death of his younger brother, Ajay, who would have turned two next month.
“This is obviously the worst possible outcome,” zoo director Ted Fox said in a statement.
The older of the two calves tested positive on Dec. 3 for Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV), which the zoo called “the most devastating viral disease in elephants worldwide.”
He spent more than a week being treated by Cornell University veterinary staff and the zoo’s team before succumbing to the disease, the statement said.
The “aggressive” treatment plan included anti-viral and herpes medicines, as well as plasma infusions from Batu’s adult female herd mate Romani.
Batu didn’t show symptoms associated with EEHV — such as pinkish nodules on the head and trunk — but the virus load in his blood continued to grow each day.
Early on Friday morning, “he laid down to rest and never got up,” Fox said.
His younger brother, Ajay, had shown no signs of the virus until right before he “suddenly” died on Tuesday, the statement said.
The executive of Onondaga County, which owns the zoo, said the deaths of the young elephants were “incomprehensible.”
“Although we knew this could happen, it’s hard to accept,” County Executive Ryan McMahon said.
“Words can’t begin to express our sadness and grief. Yet we know that as heartbroken as we are, our elephant team and our zoo need our support more than ever.”
The zoo staff will continue to care for its six adult elephants and help them adjust to the losses.
“Despite our devastating losses this week, we are more dedicated than ever to continuing our research on behalf of Asian elephants,” Fox said.
The elephants’ remains will be sent to Cornell to contribute to EEHV research, the zoo said.
The beloved animals “succeeded in doing exactly what they were here to do – to win the hearts of people and inspire them to care about a species that’s in trouble halfway around the world,” Fox said.
“If their love for Batu and Ajay leads people to care about saving Asian elephants from extinction, that would be a great way to honor them.”
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article