2 elephant calves die due to Herpes in Chhattisgarh

Two elephant calves succumb to Herpes virus infection at rescue centre in Chhattisgarh

The Herpes virus generally affects the elephants aged below 10 years having low immunity

Representative image. Credit: DH Photo

Two elephant calves have died due to Herpes virus infection in the last two days at a rescue centre for these animals in Chhattisgarh's Surajpur district, a forest official said on Saturday. While a calf named Lakshman died on Thursday, another named Reva succumbed to the infection on Friday at the Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Tamor Pingla wildlife sanctuary, said Prabhakar Khalko, Deputy Director Elephant Project (Surguja).

Both these calves, aged one year and nine months, were the offspring of Kumki elephants that have been brought from Karnataka to tackle the human-elephant conflict, she said. Kumki elephants are trained in capturing and taming wild elephants, she said. "On Wednesday, Lakshman showed symptoms of the virus infection, following which the medical treatment was started.

But despite the efforts by veterinarians, the jumbo could not be saved and it died on Thursday," Khalko said. The next day, another calf that had been kept separately after showing similar symptoms, died, she added. Their post-mortem confirmed that they were suffering from Herpes virus (EEHV) infection. However, their viscera samples have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh for further examination, the official said.

The Herpes virus generally affects the elephants aged below 10 years having low immunity. Usually, these animals die within 24-48 hours of exhibiting the symptoms of this virus, she said, adding that its vaccine is not available in the country. After the deaths, the remaining elephants at the rescue centre have been shifted to other places within the premises where disinfectants have been sprayed, Khalko said. 

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