Zoo elephant dies suddenly of herpes

An eight-year-old female Asian elephant died suddenly at Taronga Zoo Sydney after it suffered from a case of herpes.

The zoo shared the sad news on Facebook, explaining that Tukta began showing symptoms of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus on Monday morning and passed away later in the afternoon.

It said the virus, present in most elephants both wild and in captivity, causes illness only in some young elephants. When the virus does cause illness, it is almost always fatal.

The zoo shared a video (above) from 2017 showing Tukta playing with younger brother Jai Dee.

Taronga Zoo director Cameron Kerr said staff were devastated and that the herd would mourn the loss for several days.

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