Posted In Animals | 4th July 2024

Update on Passing of Asian elephant Avani

Dublin Zoo can confirm that Avani, our cherished young elephant sadly passed on July 1st, 2024 as a result of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV). EEHV is a virus that causes fatal hemorrhagic disease, particularly in young Asian elephants. Despite our best efforts, Avani’s illness progressed rapidly, and we could not save her.

Although EEHV is very common and affects both elephants in the wild and in zoos, it poses a significant threat. EEHV often lies latent in elephants and can be triggered without warning, as the virus is carried asymptomatically by many. In Avani’s case, she was receiving ongoing treatment, but the virus progressed very quickly highlighting the difficulties in predicting and managing this disease even with the highest standards of care and vigilance.

To protect the rest of our herd and as per our protocols, Dublin Zoo has enacted its EEHV response plan and is consulting with leading international experts in elephant health, virology, and wildlife management, including Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt and his team. Their expertise will guide our ongoing efforts to protect the rest of the herd, particularly its younger members under the age of 10, as older elephants are not as vulnerable to illness from the EEHV virus. To date, one other member of the herd, Zinda (8 years), is being treated for clinical symptoms of the virus, and all efforts are being made to ensure she receives the best possible care at this time.

There is currently no vaccination against EEHV but zoos and wildlife researchers around the world are working tirelessly to develop one with the aim of safeguarding the future of the elephant population from this disease.

Our commitment to the health and safety of our elephants is unwavering. We are dedicated to taking all necessary measures to ensure the well-being of our herd.

It is important to note that EEHV does not pose a health risk to humans and is not transferable.