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Herpes virus kills elephants in Berlin Zoo

Published: 28 May 2011 16:42 GMT+02:00

Two-year old female elephant Ko Raya died on Friday, after suffering from a type of elephant herpes. It is the same disease that killed her sister Shaina Pali just eight weeks ago.

Ko Raya had been under the weather for the past few days and on Friday morning she was fell over during a mud bath and died.

“Her mother wanted to get her to stand up,” eyewitness Sigrid H. (75) told mass-circulation paper Bild. “Ko Raya didn’t have any more strength. Suddenly all the elephants started trumpeting together. I think they wanted to call for help.”

Veterinarian Dr. Andreas Ochs explained that although the zookeepers rushed to the elephant, it was too late. “She was already dead.”

The herpes virus can be fatal to Asian elephants and it has already killed two other animals at the zoo over the past few years. “The virus spreads through the blood,” Ochs explained to Bild. “It attacks the internal organs, damaging the liver, intestines and heart muscles.”

Zoo Director Bernhard Blaskiewitz says the staff feel helpless in the face of the deadly disease which has left the zoo with just six elephants. “There is simply nothing we can do.”

The Local/DPA/smd

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

00:04 May 29, 2011 by ashley_G
¦quot;There is simply nothing we can do.¦quot;

Actually Bernhard Blaskiewitz:, there is a lot your zoo can do.

The incidence of the herpes virus among elephants in the wild is almost negligible. So the best you can do for the elephant species is to stop breeding them in captivity. These free ranging creatures don't belong there.

You would save elephant mothers the emotional scars of losing their babies and a host of other ailments specific to captivity like foot disease, athritis, weight disease, infertility, stillbirths and neurotic behavior.

R.I.P Ko Raya

R.I.P Shaina Pali

We will continue to fight for captive elephants.
08:37 May 29, 2011 by marimay
I hate zoos and German zoo's are particularly bad from what I have seen and read. Must be the whole humans > animals catholic BS.
09:37 May 29, 2011 by positiveguy
Once living with Herpes or other STDs, remember taht we're not alone. 1 in 6 Americans has herpes. The key is to educate you and your parnter to get more information about it. pozmingle. com has some STD medical treatments and information. You can find someone to talk to or offer help and advice there. Or you can check with the online STD counselor on it. He is online for 4 hours everyday!
20:16 May 31, 2011 by Jack Kerouac
Herpes in an elephant? Should be more careful next time...
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