Baby elephant dies from virus at Calgary zoo

Sun Nov 2, 2008 8:04pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A baby elephant died at the Calgary Zoo in Alberta over the weekend after a brief battle with a virus that has killed dozens of captive elephants around the world in the past two decades, zoo officials said.

The 15-month-old pachyderm, named Malti, collapsed and died on Saturday afternoon, one day after being diagnosed with elephant herpesvirus, a disease that can cause internal bleeding, zoo officials said in a press release.

"The disease, which has also been diagnosed in the wild, is responsible for the death of nearly a dozen young North American elephants in the past 20 years," the zoo said. "Over 40 cases have been documented in North America, Europe and Asia."

A string of animal have died at the Calgary Zoo since 2004, including a hippopotamus, several gorillas, more than 40 stingrays, and another young elephant who was rejected by her mother.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

<p>File image shows a baby elephant. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>