Second elephant dies in days at Dublin Zoo from viral infection

Seven-year-old Zinda dies despite ‘unprecedented effort’ in treatment that saw blood products rushed in from UK’s Chester Zoo

Dublin Zoo's seven-year-old elephant Zinda has died from a virus, days after another elephant at the zoo died from the same disease. Photograph: Dublin Zoo

A second elephant at Dublin Zoo died on Sunday after contracting a deadly virus that killed another young member of the herd a week earlier.

The zoo said it was “heartbroken” at the death of seven-year-old Zinda who died from Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) days after eight-year-old Avani was felled by the same disease.

EEHV is an unpredictable and fatal virus affecting young elephants both in the wild and under human care. It is not transferable between species and poses no health risk to humans.

“Despite receiving round-the-clock care from our dedicated veterinary team and international experts, Zinda’s condition deteriorated,” the zoo said in a statement.


In what it described as an “unprecedented effort” to save the elephant, the Irish and UK governments facilitated the urgent importation of vital blood products and other essential supplies from Chester Zoo to provide the antibodies and help fight the infection.

The supplies were given a Garda escort from Dublin Port.

Currently, no other elephants in the herd are showing signs of EEHV, but the zoo said it was closely monitoring their health. “Our EEHV response plan remains in place to protect the remaining members of our herd,” the statement said.

“The support and advice from the international veterinary and elephant communities has been extraordinary. The quick progression of the virus in Zinda underscores the challenges of managing this disease, even with the highest standards of care and vigilance.”

Worldwide, efforts are ongoing to develop an EEHV vaccine, with zoos and wildlife researchers desperately seeking a solution to safeguard the future of the elephant population.

“Our commitment to the wellbeing of our elephants remains steadfast, and we will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure their safety,” the zoo said. “We deeply appreciate the messages of support we have received from the public during this incredibly challenging time.”

The herd in the elephant habitat at the Kaziranga Forest Trail is made up of the five-tonne bull elephant Aung Bo, who moved to Ireland from Chester Zoo last month to join an all-female herd that was, at the time, made up of Dina (40 years), Asha (17), Samiya (10), Zinda (7) and Avani (8).

Asian elephants are endangered with the main threats being habitat loss, human-elephant conflict over crops and poaching for their ivory tusks. It is estimated there are some 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor