SAN DIEGO — Nobody likes having their blood drawn – not even elephants.

The reason elephant specialists at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are taking blood samples from their elephants is to fight elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, known as EEHV.

EEHV is carried by African and Asian elephants but seems to be one of the main causes of death in young Asian elephants. Scientists hope that by having more eyes on the disease, the better the chance to solve the problem.

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, elephant specialists have created a strong bond with the heard – making it easy to collect the blood samples for their research.

The work will help understand how EEHV is spread and how to treat elephants that come down with the disease.