Saint Louis Zoo elephant Kenzi, daughter of Raja, dies of viral infection

The Saint Louis Zoo has said goodbye to Kenzi, a six-year-old Asian elephant who was the daughter of Raja and Rani....

Posted: Feb 26, 2018 9:42 AM
Updated: Feb 26, 2018 9:42 AM

The Saint Louis Zoo has said goodbye to Kenzi, a six-year-old Asian elephant who was the daughter of Raja and Rani.

Kenzi died of a viral infection known as elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) at 1:14 a.m. Saturday. EEHV is known to be fatal to wild elephants and elephants in captivity.

The Zoo routinely and proactively tests the elephants for EEHV as part of its comprehensive health monitoring program. Kenzi was diagnosed with EEHV-1A on Feb. 20 from a blood sample that was taken on Feb. 19.

Kenzi was immediately started on anti-viral medication and received around-the-clock care from the zoo staff and veterinarians.

All of the elephants at the zoo are under close monitoring for EEHV. At this time, no others are testing positive. Historically, the virus most frequently occurs in elephants younger than seven years old. The zoo is providing prophylactic treatment to four-year-old Priya and will continue to conduct regular testing.

The zoo's elephant care team successfully treated 11-year-olds Jade and Maliha for two different types of EEHV-1 on two separate occasions.

"This is a devastating loss for Kenzi's family, the elephant care team and the St. Louis community," said Martha Fischer, Curator of Ungulates and Elephants. "Those who cared for Kenzi every day are understandably grieving. We put our hearts and souls into trying to save her."

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