Odisha seeks help of experts from Kerala, Assam as virus kills four elephants

Odisha seeks help of experts in Kerala, Assam as virus kills four elephants
A herd of elephants cross a road that passes through the Kaziranga National Park in Assam. File/Reuters

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government is seeking assistance from veterinary experts of Assam and Kerala after a virus killed four elephants at the Nandanakanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar.

All the four calves died of Endotheliotrophic Herpes Virus (EEHV) within a span of one month. The govvernment was prompted to seek the help of the experts from other states since there is no vaccine to check the spread of the virus.

"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.

The virus has so far claimed lives of four jumbos out of the eight elephants in the zoo. “Efforts are on to save the remaining jumbos,” Arukha said.

The latest elephant death was reported on Friday night when a female elephant calf, 'Gauri', succumbed to the EEHV.

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.

(With inputs from PTI)