A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Packy, an Oregon Zoo elephant that had TB and had to be euthanized at age 55.
Unfortunately, now Shine, a younger elephant, has the same disease. Fortunately, vets caught the illness early and believe she will be treated successfully. She will be put in isolation to try to prevent the spread of TB.
The Oregon Zoo already has dealt with previous cases of TB in elephants Rama and Tusko.
It is troubling to see how they have been unable to contain TB. After Shine’s diagnosis all of the zoo’s elephants will be tested.
Zoo elephants tend to live shorter lives than wild elephants. There are various theories as to why this occurs (such as a lack of exercise, less variety of food/nutrients, or smaller herds), but I think these Oregon Zoo cases show another problem with captivity – the small, shared spaces provide an easier way for viruses to spread.
Photo: taken at the Elephant Nature Park