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INDIANAPOLIS — A second elephant has died at the Indianapolis Zoo in just a week’s time. 

Kalina, an 8-year-old African elephant became ill Saturday and died just before noon on Tuesday.

“On Saturday…Kalina started showing symptoms similar to elephant Nyah, who died March 19 after a short illness,” the Indy Zoo said Tuesday. “While we are still awaiting all the histopathology results from Nyah, tests indicated high levels of elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV).” 

EEHV is an aggressive type of herpes virus that can cause fatal hemorrhagic disease in Asian and African elephants. The virus can strike without warning and it is not preventable.

The Zoo has tested its elephants for EEHV, and until now, none of the animals have tested positive.

“It is likely that many or all of our elephants have been EEHV carriers and have passed the virus onto their offspring or each other,” the Zoo said Tuesday.

Researchers are still not entirely sure how the virus is transmitted, according to Dr. Rob Shumaker, Zoo president. There is no vaccine to prevent EEHV.

Despite the loss of Kalina and Nyah, the Zoo and its staff remain committed to the African elephant, Dr. Shumaker said Tuesday.

“We are shattered by the loss of both Nyah and Kalina. This cruel and aggressive virus has taken two beloved and majestic animals from us,” said Dr. Shumaker. “Our commitment to this species in the wild and in human care remains strong.”

The Indianapolis Zoo says it is monitoring the elephant herd and no elephants are showing any signs of the virus.

(Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo.)