Two baby elephants killed by ‘lethal’ herpes strain at Syracuse zoo

The New York Post:

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.

Read more at The New York Post

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