Second BioPark elephant succumbs to EEHV virus

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The ABQ BioPark is mourning the loss of an eight-year-old Asian elephant, officials announced in a release Monday.

Jazmine the elephant died Sunday from complications of the EEHV virus. The virus also claimed the life of her brother, Thorn, on Christmas Day.

Jazmine was diagnosed with the virus Dec. 28. BioPark officials say they provided 24/7 care to her after her diagnosis.

“The BioPark’s elephant experts and veterinary teams did everything in their power – and then some – to help Jazmine,” said Stephanie Stowell, ABQ BioPark director. “Jazmine matched their efforts every step along the way. True to her strong-willed nature, Jazmine fought valiantly against the disease.”

All elephants can inactively carry EEHV without any negative effects but it is unclear what activates the virus.

Elephants are most susceptible to the virus from 18 months to 8 years old. Jazmine’s brother, Thorn, was 3 years old when he died on Christmas Day from the same virus.

The virus is the leading cause of death for Asian elephant calves and can impact elephants in all habitats.

The losses will impact the Asian elephant population at the BioPark. They were getting ready to help Jazmine become a mom.

"She would have been a great mother," Stowell said.

Now, the youngest Asian elephant at the BioPark is 30 years old, but Stowell said they aren’t giving up.

"We remain committed to being a breeding facility for Asian elephants," she said.

The BioPark also reported a bacterial infection outbreak among its gorillas in 2021.