Taronga Zoo Asian Elephant dies suddenly from herpes virus

By Ally Parker September 5, 2018


In quite possibly the craziest, most depressing news of all time, eight-year-old Asian Elephant Tukta has passed away from herpes.

ABC News report that the female elephant - the first born at the zoo - showed signs of lethargy on Monday and was quickly diagnosed with Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV), passing away not long after.

"Despite the swift action of everyone involved, she tragically lost her fight against the virus later that afternoon," the zoo said in a statement.

"Our hearts are broken by Tukta's sudden and unexpected loss Director and CEO Cameron Kerr added.

"She was a much-loved member of Taronga's elephant herd who loved caring for her little brother Jai Dee."

Taronga Zoo also explained that EEHV is present in almost all Asian elephants but it only causes illness when the animals are young.

According to Senior Veterinarian Dr Larry Vogelnest, the disease poses no risk to humans but progresses rapidly in elephants and is almost always fatal.

"The virus that Tukta succumbed to is naturally carried by Asian elephants, and occasionally causes disease in elephants, most commonly between one and eight years of age," Vogelnest explained.

"There is no vaccine available for this virus, and at present drug treatment is effective only in one third of cases."

Image: Getty