The eight-year-old Asian elephant Omysha died on Sunday from elephant herpes at Zurich Zoo in Switzerland, zoo spokesperson Pascal Marty said on Monday. Her two-year-old brother Umesh died from the virus two weeks ago.
“It’s very sad that Omysha has died. Our staff did everything we could for her, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to save her,” Marty said, adding that she was given anti-viral drugs and blood plasma infusions.
Elephant herpes virus usually affects young elephants whose immune system is not developed strong enough to produce antibodies to fight it.
Since Omysha is the second elephant to die at the zoo, staff were monitoring the other six elephants and were extra alert on the youngest, the five-year-old Ruwani.
The zoo said that veterinary pathologists started examining Omysha to understand the virus better and develop better treatment methods.
Marty said that Omysha’s sister Chandra and mother Indi were given time to say goodbye to her, which is essential for elephants because in the wild they have strong social ties.