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Viral disease claims life of young elephant at Toledo Zoo

April 14, 2021 GMT

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The Toledo zoo has announced the death of a young African elephant due to a species-specific viral disease.

The zoo posted a video to social media Wednesday saying Lucas, who was to turn 10 years old in June, died late Tuesday of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus.

The zoo’s president and chief executive, Jeff Sailer, said the disease has struck elephants across the country in recent years. Some have survived while others, including Lucas, have not, he said.

Zoo officials said the virus can cause acute hemorrhagic disease in young elephants that damages the lining of blood vessels throughout the body. Blood loss leads to organ damage, shock, and death, a fact sheet provided by the zoo said.

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Lucas was born June 3, 2011, and was named through a public contest “in grateful recognition of the support of the taxpayers here in Lucas County,” Sailer said.