Baby elephant Malti dies
The Calgary Zoo's baby elephant has died, despite round-the-clock efforts to save her.
Malti was diagnosed with a rare, but deadly disease called elephant herpesvirus on Friday. The disease attacks the lining of the blood vessels. It's suspected she got it from one of the adult elephants which can carry the virus without ever becoming ill themselves.
The Elephant Crossing area of the zoo was closed to the public Saturday. All of the elephants were kept outside while staff worked feverishly to keep the calf alive.
Her illness came as a shock to many. Back in August she was the picture of health as the zoo and thrilled visitors celebrated her first birthday. She had beaten the odds then as her mother had shunned her at birth and elephant keepers intervened to save her.
On Saturday afternoon, zookeepers were still hopeful Malti would pull through. The calf was taking a nap, but when she woke up and tried to stand, she collapsed and died. The elephant's handlers are devastated.
This is the second baby elephant to die at the Calgary Zoo. In 2004, a calf who was just weeks old also died. She was born to the same mother elephant as Malti, Maharani. That baby was also shunned by the adult elephant.
Zoo staff told CTV News a post mortem exam on Malti will be conducted either Sunday or Monday.
Veterinarians hoped anti-viral drugs would save Malti, but staff suspect the disease travelled to Malti's heart and just did too much damage.
Only four elephants are known to have survived herpesvirus.