Elephant Omisha dies at Zurich Zoo a few days after his brother


Zurich — Staff said Monday that a second elephant died of herpes on the elephant at the Zurich Zoo. It’s been less than two weeks since the same virus claimed her brother.

According to zoo spokesman Pascal Marty, an eight-year-old Asian elephant, Omisha, died Sunday night despite receiving antiviral drugs and plasma infusions.

Omisha’s sister Chandra and her mother Indy were given time to say goodbye to her. This is an important consideration for animals with strong social ties.

My two-year-old brother, Umesh, died of the same virus at the end of June.

“It’s very sad that Omisha died. Our staff did everything they could for her, but unfortunately they couldn’t save her,” Marty said.

Swiss elephant
Umesh, a two-day-old male baby elephant walks through the Kenkrachan Elephant Park at the zoo in Zurich, Switzerland, on February 6, 2020. (Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters)

“It’s a very moving time now. Staff live and work with animals, see birth and death, and they really get to know them.”

Almost all elephants potentially carry the elephant herpes virus. That is, no symptoms are seen and the test cannot detect them.

The disease especially affects young elephants. The immune system of young elephants is not mature enough to produce antibodies to fight it.

According to the zoo, pathologists have begun investigating Omisha to better understand the virus and develop better treatments.

The zoo said there were no other acute cases of herpes in the other six elephants, but staff were watching closely what was called the youngest five-year-old Ruvani.