St. Louis, MO (KTRS) The St. Louis Zoo is mourning the loss of one of their young elephants.
Zoo officials say Kenzi, a six-year-old Asian elephant calf died on Saturday after being diagnosed with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus. EEHV is a viral infection shown to be fatal to elephants.
The St. Louis Zoo posted the following Facebook message regarding Kenzi’s death:
“With a heavy heart, the Saint Louis Zoo has said goodbye to Kenzi, a 6-year-old Asian elephant calf who was the daughter of Raja and Rani. She died earlier today, succumbing to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) — a viral infection shown to be fatal to wild elephants and elephants in human care. This is a devastating loss for Kenzi’s family, the elephant care team and the St. Louis community.
We detected the disease through our regular blood tests even before she became symptomatic and we did everything we could to save her. While we have successfully treated EEHV before, Kenzi fought as hard has she could, but ultimately was not able to rally in this case.
We appreciate your thoughts and support”
All of the elephants at the zoo are under close monitoring for the virus, and none have tested positive. Experts believe elephants younger than 7 are most susceptible to the virus. A 4-year-old elephant at the zoo is being treated with medication as a precaution.
Asian elephants are an endangered species, with fewer than 35,000 left in the wild.