Updated: Chester Zoo elephant house now fully following precautionary closure over virus scan ‘anomaly’
Update: Chester Zoo’s indoor elephant habitat is now open as usual, following the brief periods of closure last weekend.
After vets spotted a small anomaly in one-year-old Anjan Hi Way’s regular EEHV health screenings last week, the zoo’s specialist team have been closely monitoring the calf.
Keepers and veterinary teams had initially been giving Anjan immune boosting drugs, just as a precautionary measure, and will continue to monitor him as usual.
Anjan continues to appear completely fit and well, and is spending time playing with half sister Indali, who survived the EEHV virus earlier this year.
Previous Report: Chester Zoo has said it’s indoor elephant habitat “may be closed for brief periods” this weekend after an “small anomaly” was found in young calf’s regular health screening for a deadly virus which killed two calves last year.
The zoo says the anomaly was found in young calf Anjan Hi Way, during a regular screening for endotheliotropic herpesvirusone (EEHV).
The one year-old appears completely fit and the move to close the elephant habitat for short periods is a “precautionary measure”.
A spokesperson for the zoo said: “Our team have spotted a small anomaly in one of the calf’s regular EEHV health screenings.
One-year-old calf Anjan Hi Way appears completely fit and well, and is interacting playfully with the rest of the herd, as normal.
Keepers and veterinary teams are giving Anjan immune boosting drugs, just as a precautionary measure.
The elephant house will be closed for small periods throughout the weekend to give Anjan and the herd some quiet time while the team give him his treatment.
We apologise for any inconvenience while the house is closed. At all other times, the herd will be outside in their habitat as usual.”
Two elephant calves died in 2018 after falling ill with the virus at Chester Zoo.
Three-year-old Nandita Hi Way and 18-month-old Aayu Hi Way tested positive for EEHV and underwent blood transfusions and were given anti-viral drugs but tragically died in October 2018.
[Indali Hi Way survived EEHV after ground breaking treatment]
Remarkably two-year-old Indali Hi Way– made a full recovery earlier this year from the EEHV helped by ground-breaking developments in early detection and treatment methods.
EEHV is a major threat to the long-term survival of endangered Asian elephants.
Reports of wild elephant fatalities in India, Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand are on the rise.
It is known to have caused deaths in nine countries across their native range, as well as in zoo breeding programmes worldwide.
It is thought that most Asian elephants carry EEHV, but only young calves tend to develop outward symptoms, typically around weaning age, when they do, it is usually fatal.
Huge progress has been made in recent years in the fight to find an answer to the global crisis.
A team from Chester Zoo backed by more than £240,000 in public donations – have been at the forefront of attempts to find a solution.
Their ultimate goal is to develop an effective vaccine that could be rolled out worldwide.