Elephant death at Nandankanan: Odisha seeks assistance from experts

Bhubaneswar: Four elephants have died at the Nandankanan Zoo here after being infected by a virus, prompting the Odisha government to seek assistance from experts of Assam and Kerala.

All the four calves died of Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus within a span of one month. “The state government has contacted experts in Assam and Kerala where similar virus has killed several elephants in the past,” Forest and Environment Minister of Odisha, B Karukha, said on Saturday.

Since there is no such vaccine to check the spread of the virus, the state government has sought assistance of experts to contain further outbreak. Out of the eight elephants in the zoo, the Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus claimed lives of four jumbos so far, the minister said.

Efforts are on to save the remaining jumbos, Arukha said, adding, the latest elephant death was reported on Friday night when a female elephant calf, ‘Gauri’, succumbed to the EEHV (Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus). Gauri was brought to the Nandankanan Zoo from Athagarh Forest Range in 2012.

Out of the remaining four elephants, three are adults. The EEHV mostly affects elephant calves below 15 years of age. Since most of the elephants were brought from different forests of the state, blood samples will be collected to ensure that the EEHV has not spread to the wild also, the minister said.

All precautionary measures are being taken to save lives of the remaining elephants in the zoo, the Deputy Director of Nandankanan Zoo, Jayant Das, said. It is not clear whether the virus has also affected the remaining elephants, he said.

(PTI)

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