Project Description

Ex Situ – EEHV Genomics and Pathogenesis

IEF is continuing its long-term funding of research to understand and combat the devastating acute hemorrhagic disease caused by some strains of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV). This novel group of mammalian herpesviruses discovered in 1999 (also known as Probosciviruses) has been responsible for the deaths of 20% of all Asian elephant calves born in zoos and elephant housing facilities over the past 25 years. The same virus types have also been confirmed to be present in nearly 86 lethal cases in wild, orphan and camp-reared Asian elephant calves within at least six different Asian elephant range countries over the last ten years and thus represent another of the many difficult to control factors threatening the long-term breeding success and survival of the highly threatened Asian elephant worldwide. This project conducts extensive genetic analyses of virus positive samples from Asian and African elephants and has thus far revealed that these infections are endemic in both host species. Most, if not all, elephants may become latently infected with different types of EEHV in their lifetimes, therefore it is important for this research to not only identify and categorize the strains of EEHV but understand the differences between types and understand why one type (EEHV1A) is far more dangerous to calves than the others. This research has served as the foundation for most EEHV research around the world.

International Elephant Foundation Strategy In Support Of Elephant Conservation

IEF-supported projects protect elephants from poaching, seek solutions for human-elephant conflict, equip and train community conservationists, increase our knowledge of the treatment and prevention of disease and educate people. In 2017, IEF will provide over $600,000 to support elephant conservation around the world, adding to the over $4 million total invested in conserving elephants since our inception in 1998. The following elephant conservation projects will receive support from IEF in 2017