Why are baby elephants dying in The Secret Life of the Zoo?

The anti-viral medications started at the same time, had to be flown in. Most people get infected with HSV-1 as kids, from kissy adults. These elephants, Bamboo and Chai were also known to have the disease and there was some concern about them passing it on to Malee and his 9-month-old sister, Achara. It’s responsible for more than half of all juvenile elephant deaths in North American facilities, and it’s possible that Ringling could have prevented baby Barack from catching this horrible virus. They say the future of captive elephants is in crisis. IMPORTANCE Multiple species of herpesviruses from three different lineages of the Proboscivirus genus (EEHV1/6, EEHV2/5, and EEHV3/4/7) infect both Asian and African elephants, but lethal hemorrhagic disease is largely confined to Asian elephant calves and is predominantly associated with EEHV1.

Between 1995 and 2013, 30 per cent of Asian elephants born in the UK died from it, putting breeding program – and the already endangered species – at risk. Barack was the second of the circus’ elephants to contract the virus. In another paper in the same issue of Journal of Virology, Hayward et al. These combined therapies can “take the brakes off the immune system,” he said, increasing survival or life extension rates. This donation has come at the perfect time for EAI to make a serious impact on elephant welfare in Nepal with this chain-free hattisar, the first of its kind in the country. The elephant herd at Have Trunk Will Travel participates in an ongoing EEHV research project conducted by the National Elephant Herpes Virus Laboratory at the Smithsonian National Zoo.


Department of Agriculture, asking for it to intervene and stop Ringling Bros. And that, in the critics’ view, is where the trouble began. EEHV research efforts have been thwarted by two problems. Fischer knows all too well the toll the virus can take on an elephant. After a certain period, the stuff from the zoo moved two elephants, Chai and Bamboo, to the Oklahoma City Zoo. “Zoos must stop ignoring the science that reveals who elephants are, what they need, and how they suffer in zoo exhibits.

If Barack survives the herpes virus, he doesn’t have much to look forward to. For a start, her weight has increased to 210kg, up from an initial 149kg at birth. Once again the zoo industry has selfishly taken a risk with this precious young calf’s life in their obsessive desire to breed elephants into zoo confinement. The Asian elephant is facing extinction in the wild. Previous research has indicated that infant mortality is 40 percent among zoo elephants, almost three time the rate of wild-born populations. Zoos have depended on elephants as crowd pleasers and revenue generators, but for every elephant born, on average two others die, a Times analysis has found.

Mothers teach babies life skills like how to use dust as sunscreen and to ward off insect bites, aunts babysit, and grandmothers mediate squabbles. I turned to my colleague Michael Hutchins. “The sperm in the semen sample were very healthy and robust, and the timing was excellent, giving Chai a very good chance at conception,” said Nancy Hawkes, Woodland Park Zoo’s general curator. Despite this, the new calf (who has yet to be named) is also the smallest elephant ever born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo weighing in at just 104kg, around 16 stone, at birth. But it was the death of Hansa, the first elephant born in Washington state history, that first brought sorrow and scrutiny to Woodland Park’s elephant program. Across the country, the race to produce baby elephants was on.

While SeaWorld recently pledged to stop breeding orcas, Ringling has made clear that, though it will no longer use elephants in traveling circus acts, it has every intention of continuing to use them as breeding stock at its Florida compound—despite acknowledging that there is no possibility of the animals Ringling breeds ever being released. AZA zoo directors endorsed an aggressive new vision that focuses on ensuring elephants are part of the world’s future. “Chester Zoo’s veterinary and keeping staff carry out daily blood testing of the elephant herd and, as soon as the first traces of EEHV were detected in both Bala and then Hari, the teams began early treatment using anti-viral medication.