Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) is a deadly virus that affects young elephants typically around weaning age. In many elephants it can lie dormant and undetectable and never develops into the disease, but others are more susceptible to it. Currently no one knows why some elephants get it and others don’t. Chester Zoo is part of the global conservation community committed to researching EEHV and finding ways of improving outcomes for elephants that develop the virus. Ultimately we want to try and develop a preventative vaccine, as currently there isn’t one.
For many years we’ve funded vital research into EEHV, but researchers have yet to manage to culture the virus, a process which is necessary to create a vaccine and determine what drugs are most effective. We have a responsibility to do everything we can to understand this disease in order to have a chance of eradicating it both in zoos and, crucially, in the wild. Asian elephants are endangered and it’s hoped that the work being done in zoos will hold the key to unlocking the information researchers need to make a positive breakthrough. By donating to Chester Zoo’s research fund you can help us to secure a future for young elephants by enabling us to contribute more to vital research into this killer condition. If we don’t stop this lethal disease from spreading, more young elephants will die.