Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Sad news from Copenhagen Zoo

27 November 2014

Categories: Homepage News, Elephants Campaign News, Zoo Check Campaign News

Sad news from the controversial Copenhagen Zoo, where it is reported that a two year old elephant has been euthanised as a result of developing acute symptoms of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV).

The disease, which can cause ulcers, swelling and haemorrhaging, has been responsible for the deaths of around 18 elephants in Europe since the mid 1990s. A statement from the zoo offers the explanation that: "The disease is found both in the wild and in zoos worldwide and is impossible to guard against".

Since the discovery of EEHV in an elephant at the Smithsonian National Zoo is the USA in 1995, and subsequent high-profile deaths of elephants from the disease in zoos, the captivity industry has undertaken a desperate search for the virus in wild populations; a search that, we are convinced, aims to justify the relatively large number of deaths of susceptible elephants in captivity.

While there is some evidence for EEHV in wild Asian elephants, there is no evidence to suggest that it kills such a high proportion of young elephants in the wild as it does in captivity. For example, EEHV has caused the death of approximately 25% of the Asian elephants born in North America since 1978.

And therefore, we should continue to consider EEHV as a particular problem of captivity, and not simply be placated by the defence that it is found both in the wild and in zoos. What is it about life in captivity that causes such a risk of death from EEHV to young elephants? The Born Free Foundation believes that EEHV is just one of many reasons that we should phase out the keeping of elephants in zoos and circuses, and focus instead on maintaining elephants in the wild.

Donate to 'Zoo Check' today and help Born Free stop captive animal suffering, challenge the multi-billion-pound global captive animal industry, and phase-out zoos and animal circuses

Born Free Foundation
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