ASIAN ELEPHANTS IN THE HIMALAYAN REGION
EMERGING THREAT TO ASIAN ELEPHANTS
The herpes virus is attributed to over half the deaths of young elephants in captivity in zoos in the US and Europe with no known magnitude of the viral impact in Asian elephants.
Elephants throughout Asia are at risk of highly pathogenic diseases such as elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). This herpes virus is widespread throughout Asia, and predominantly affects juveniles aged 1-8 years old. It is highly fatal to these elephants therefore; timely and aggressive treatment is needed in order to have a chance of survival. There is little known about the route of infection and prevalence of disease, especially in the elephants living in range countries.
OUR UNIQUE AND SUSTAINABLE APPROACH
Our project in Nepal demonstrated that our Wildlife Health Programming can make a significant difference. We identified diseases transmitted across species; our veterinary team was the first to successfully treat the herpes virus in an elephant calf, and we identified an alarming mortality trend in the rhino population; just a few of our achievements. Our work in Nepal continues through trained wildlife professionals and the infrastructure and protocols we shared.
We have now been invited by the Indian government to bring our science-based techniques to India. Our first location, Rajaji Tiger Reserve has recently built a wildlife hospital and has veterinary staff. They have asked us to assist them in developing a comprehensive Wildlife Health Program that includes training and ongoing support by VIEW’s specialized wildlife veterinarians, providing equipment and tools for quality veterinary care, and sharing our work and findings through papers and conferences internationally.
Field veterinarians will teach multi-day workshops that will train wildlife professionals on how to include wildlife health into their conservation efforts.
VIEW will contribute WHIS; the first ever database specifically designed for wildlife health to digitally track, analyze and share data to ID wildlife health trends.
We will explore new diagnostic techniques for evaluating tiger health, disease investigation and easy-to-use data collecting techniques.