An eight-year-old Asian Elephant named Tukta has died at Taronga Zoo following a sudden onset of a form of herpes.
Tukta began receiving emergency treatment yesterday after she appeared “lethargic and off her food“. According to the zoo, elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) occurs in “almost all Asian Elephants both in the wild and in zoos“, only sometimes causing illness in young elephants. When it does, it is almost always fatal.
Tukta was born at Taronga Zoo, as part of a breeding program to reestablish numbers of the endangered species.
The zoo’s director, Cameron Kerr, said that staff were heartbroken by her death:
Our hearts are broken by Tukta’s sudden and unexpected loss. She was a much-loved member of Taronga’s Elephant herd who loved caring for her little brother Jai Dee.
Kerr said that all efforts were made to save her:
Right now, our focus is on supporting our dedicated Elephant Keeper Team and Tukta’s family, including mother Pak Boon, brother Jai Dee and aunt Tang Mo.
The decision to make a veterinary intervention is always made quickly where necessary, and Tukta was receiving the best care and expertise available in Australasia.
You’re splashing water out of your trunk in heaven now, mate.