Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Deadly herpes virus – third elephant dies in Zurich zoo

  • Zurich Zoo Lost Third Elephant: Five-year-old elephant Gai Ruvani died of herpes virus on Saturday morning, the zoo said.
  • After two-year-old Umesh and eight-year-old Omisha, Ruvani was the last elephant in serious danger.

Till Friday, Ruwani had not shown any symptoms of the disease. The zoo said its viral load had fluctuated between high and low values ​​in the earlier days. To prevent the disease from spreading, the zoo also began concomitant treatment with antiviral drugs.

In late June, two-year-old elephant bull Umesh died of the virus, and about two weeks earlier, eight-year-old female elephant Omisha. According to the zoo, Ruvani was the last elephant in serious danger.

deep concern

Zoo director Severin Dreisen was disappointed in a statement: “It’s a very sad day for us at the Zurich Zoo.” The fact that they have now lost three young elephants at this particularly vulnerable age in such a short period of time is “simply shocking”. “And even if we know rationally that animals carry the virus and that these young elephants are dying in other zoos and in nature as well, we are saddened.”

Young elephants in particular are at risk

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The elephant herpes virus itself is imperceptible and not very dangerous. However, if it multiplies rapidly in the body, it can trigger EEHV disease. This often leads to death, especially in young elephants, if their protection from the mother’s antibodies is gone and they have not yet formed their own. So Ruvani was tested regularly to determine the viral load.

According to the people responsible for the research at the zoo, it is still largely unclear what effectively triggers one of the dreaded virus outbreaks in young elephants. The deaths experienced and the intensive medical treatment given to sick elephants can be distressing to highly social animals. It can also weaken the immune system.

It is disappointing that they are powerless against the virus, despite the best veterinary care from the University Animal Hospital. The elephant house, the keeper and realized that the entire animal hospital must have given everything in the past few weeks. The zoo is very grateful for this.

The herpes virus is widely spread among elephants. “We know that every elephant in the zoo or in the wild probably has the virus recently,” zoo director Severin Dresen said two weeks ago.

Ruvani was one of two matrilineal groups of elephants in the zoo. She formed one group with her mother Farha and grandmother Seyla-Himli, Umesh and Omisha and her mother Indi and sister Chandra formed another group.

17-year-old Farha is now the youngest elephant at the Zurich Zoo. It is believed that there is only a low risk of disease for the remaining five elephants, it said. Medical monitoring of the rest of the animals will continue.

Nation World News Desk
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