Oregon Zoo’s youngest elephant dies suddenly

The Oregon Zoo has suffered a tragic loss of one of its beloved animals.

Lily, a young elephant, died Thursday night, just a day before she would have turned 6 years old.

Zoo officials said they tried everything to save Lily, but she died from a sudden onset of endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV), KATU reported.

"Lily was the darling of the zoo. She was loved by everyone from her elephant family to the people who cared for her every day to her thousands of fans. Our staff did everything they could and fought to save her until the very end. Everyone is mourning here. It is just heartbreaking," Dr. Don Moore, zoo director, told KPTV.

Zoo officials said almost all Asian elephants, both wild and in captivity, have EEHV. Most of the time it has either mild or no symptoms. But in some cases, it can become active, and that's when it is usually deadly, causing death in a few days no matter the treatment, KPTV reported.

Lily died with her mother, Rose-Tu, and the people who cared for her. Her elephant aunts, Chendra and Shine, were also there to comfort her.

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The zoo was closed Friday and canceled its ZooLights for Friday night but it will reopen Saturday, KATU reported.

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