Two elephants died within days of each other at the ABQ BioPark Zoo.
Zoo officials said Thorn, a three-year-old male, died on Christmas day. His sister, Jazmine, an 8-year-old Asian elephant, died on Sunday.
The zoo said both elephants died from complications from the endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).
“As a community, we are all saddened by the loss of any elephants, especially young animals like Thorn and Jazmine. We know the professionals at ABQ BioPark and those from the EEHV Advisory Group that dedicated their time to administering the EEHV treatment regime gave it their all," said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. "And while it does not make the sting of their deaths any less, what we learned during their treatments will help advance our overall knowledge of EEHV treatment efforts. Our thoughts are with the staff as they deal with their loss."
The zoo said all elephants can inactively carry EEHV without any negative effects but it is unclear what causes the virus to become activated and potentially lethal.
"EEHV causes hemorrhagic disease that can be fatal for young elephants. It is the leading cause of death for Asian elephant calves and can strike elephants in the wild and in human care," a statement from the zoo said.