The Indianapolis Zoo is experiencing a tragedy of enormous proportions.
One of the zoo's youngest elephants died on Tuesday, the zoo announced, just days after another young elephant in the herd died.
"We are devastated to announce that a second African elephant in our herd, Kalina, died earlier today," the zoo said in a statement, per NBC News. "Words cannot describe the emotional impact this is having on our Zoo family."
Six-year-old Nyah, was the first elephant to die. Eight-year-old Kalina died nearly a week later. The youngsters, who belonged to a herd of African elephants faced similar signs of illness including abdominal discomfort, the zoo said.
Nyah's tests results revealed high levels of endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) causing a fatal hemorrhagic disease in elephants, the statement said. The zoo recalled Nyah as a "beautiful, fun and curious elephant," who often followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Zahara, reports NBC News. Kalina's mother and brother remain with the herd in the Indianpolis Zoo.
The fatal infection occurs both in elephants in the wild and those who are in human care, the zoo said. There is no cure for EEHV, nor a vaccine.