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Dublin Zoo: Third elephant contracts virus that killed two others this month

Dublin Zoo: Third elephant contracts virus that killed two others this month

Third One of Dublin Zoo’s elephants has contracted the virus that killed two other members of the herd this month.

The zoo confirmed this morning that 17-year-old Asha had been diagnosed with elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV) – a virus that does not pose a threat to humans but can be fatal to young elephants.

On Sunday, Asha’s seven-year-old daughter, Zinda, died from an “unpredictable and deadly” virus.

This comes a week after eight-year-old Avani also died from the disease.

Dublin Zoo Director Christoph Schwitzer said with emotion: Novelty that the last few weeks have been a “horror time” for the zoo.

He noticed that elephants mourn the dead in the same way as humans.

“Elephants live in a very tightly knit matriarchal herd led by an adult female,” he said.

“When they lose a member of their pack, they feel grief – we know that. We know that from wildlife, and we know that from human care.

“So we leave the dead animal there for a while so the animal can say goodbye to it.

“I think it’s very important that we see this. The elephants come up and touch them with their trunks and so on.

“So, I would say it’s very similar to human society. You know, elephants suffer just like we do.”

Asha’s diagnosis means half of the zoo’s herd of six elephants are already infected with the virus.

The virus is particularly dangerous to younger elephants, and the good news for Ashi is that she has already reached a vulnerable age—most elephants that die from EEHV die before they are 10 years old.

Dr Schwitzer said the three remaining elephants at the zoo appeared to be doing well – he noted that the 22-year-old male elephant Aung Bo was kept separate from the herd and had never come into contact with the virus.

The other two females, nine-year-old Samiya and 40-year-old Dina Hare, have not shown any symptoms of the virus.

The cause of EEHV remains unknown. Experts say it can be transmitted both in zoos and in the wild.

The virus is transmitted through the trunk and the elephants die from internal bleeding.

Now, work is underway around the clock to ensure the survival of the remaining elephants, which are an endangered species. There are only 40,000 of them left in the world.