Prague Zoo – death of the elephant Amalee. A futile struggle minute by minute – her closest ones said goodbye to her
Elephant herpesvirus is an insidious disease, unfortunately it can be fatal for elephants. “It has a very rapid course that takes even immediate treatment to stop. Unfortunately, that was the case even in the case of Amalee,” said the director of Paha Zoo, Miroslav Bobek, when the female’s death was reported for the first time. Prague Zoo has now published more detailed information about her health status, when she was under the close supervision of breeders and veterinarians.
The breeders noticed the first signs that something was bothering the elephant’s health on Monday, January 23. “Amalee’s morning training routine was interrupted halfway through due to her frequent departures from the box. She accepted rewards. Otherwise, she was functioning perfectly normally,” the zoo said on its website. A day later, Amalee she refused rewards and showed a certain lack of interest in the surroundings.
“He was always with Amalee a bit of a problem she sometimes used the option to refuse training and put her head up,” the zoo said. “Furthermore, there was a situation on Tuesday morning when Amalee got into a fight with Lacuna she broke her tusk. She provoked the fight and hit Lacuna’s side with her head while running. You are the team she broke her right tuskwhich was cleanly broken deep in the bed, but without exposing the pulp.’
A day later, the vet stated that she had Amalee temperature. “We tried to take blood. Blood could not be drawn. It was finally given to her orally analgesics in liquid form (reduction of possible pain and temperature). After returning from the enclosure, she was separated from her mother and was given more analgesics.” According to experts, she worked because the elephant’s temperature returned to normal by evening. Unfortunately, but only briefly.
Unfortunately, Amalee succumbed to an insidious virus. (illustrative photo)
Author: Petr Hamerník, Prague Zoo
On Thursday, the vet measured her 39.5°C, which is 2-2.5°C above normal. “She was very lethargic with slight swelling around her eyes. She was administered drugs (antibiotics, analgesics, anti-tetanus serum, vit. E + selenium, liver protective treatment, immune stimulation), infusions (solution corresponding to the condition + glucose) and was also irrigated rectally.” Despite the drugs administered the vet knew it was bad.
Lab results confirmed the worst fears. “Examination showed a significant decrease in blood plateletsafter taking the sample to SVÚ Prague, it was confirmed high EEHV virus load in the blood,” the zoo reports, adding that the veterinarian had to proceed with a blood plasma transfusion. Breeders looked for this not only among the Prague elephants, but also in foreign zoos.
The last farewell
Unfortunately, but Amalee’s transfusions didn’t help either. On Thursday evenings between 19:00 and 22:00, Amalee would often lie down. “At the end of the time period, she has diarrhea and is visibly swollen in the face,” reads the zoo’s website. Even the administration of other drugs before the end of the day did not improve her condition. After midnight on Friday, Amalee lost her battle with the insidious disease.
At 0:07 the breeders recorded her motor problems. At 0:08 she fell exhausted to the ground, from which she did not rise again. At 0:13 the vet pronounced her dead. 7 minutes later, the female Tamara came to say “goodbye” to her body, Janitawhich she was the mother of Amaleeand Lacuna, who was only two months older than the youngest of the Prague elephants. At 0:25 Gulab and Shanti also came. “All the elephants had the opportunity to “say goodbye”, including Gulab and Shanti, who normally stay with the others without sharing,” the zoo reports. They could say goodbye to her all night.
“Subsequently, an autopsy took place in the quarantine area. The findings correspond to EEHV – HD infection, i.e. the hemorrhagic form of EEHV,” the final report states, stating that the most affected organs were the digestive tract, heart, lymph nodes and also the spleen.
Zoo: Elephants and their occurrence in Bohemia Videohub
The baby elephants Lakuna and Amalee were only two months apart.
Author: Tereza Mrhálková, Prague Zoo