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2-year-old elephant dies at Ringling Bros. conservation center

Preliminary results show Mike died of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus

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POLK CITY, Fla. – The youngest elephant at Ringling Bros & Barnum Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City died on Monday, officials said.

A 2-year-old Asian elephant named Mike, who was born at the center, died from the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, according to a release.

Final necropsy results are pending, but officials said preliminary results along with blood tests indicated that EEHV was the cause of death.

"No one knows why the virus manifests this way in some elephants, since most elephants harbor the virus and never become ill," said Dr. Ashley Settles, Ringling Bros. director of veterinary care, in a release. "Mike only began to show the slightest of symptoms on Saturday and was eating and drinking well as late as Sunday afternoon, but the illness progressed very rapidly. As soon as symptoms began we started treating him, but by Monday morning there was nothing more anyone could do to prevent his passing."

Mike was born at the conservation on June 27, 2013, to Angelica and Romeo, who were also both born at the center. 

The center has had 26 births of endangered Asian elephants since its founding in 1995, according to officials, adding that Mike was the first elephant at the center to die of EEHV.