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Zoo bears responsibility for elephant's illness
The Maryland Zoo's 4-year-old elephant Samson's serious illness with herpes is one example of how zoo breeding programs put elephants at risk ("Young elephant recovering from virus," March 14). This frightening disease causes massive internal hemorrhaging, typically affects elephants under 10 years of age, and has an 85 percent mortality rate. It's responsible for more than half of all juvenile elephant deaths in North American facilities. Death from the herpes virus usually occurs within seven days after an acute onset of symptoms, which include lethargy, swelling of the head and limbs, and a blue discoloration of the tongue.
March 18, 2013