The NEW Sydney Zoo celebrated its 1st birthday by welcoming two adorable bull Asian Elephants, Kavi, and Ashoka to their brand-new world-class facility in Western Sydney.
Kavi and Ashoka, both just over six years old, arrive in Australia as part of expert recommendations from the European Zoo breeding program (EEP) and will make an important contribution to the Asian Elephant breeding program in Australasia led by the Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA).
The move to the NEW Sydney Zoo was important as the bull’s genes are already well represented in European breeding programs and with limited housing options available for bull elephants globally, the opportunity to move the pair to a brand-new purpose-built facility was the best outcome for the elephant’s welfare.
The pair traveled to the NEW Sydney Zoo from Europe and were joined by a dedicated team who ensured the bulls were closely monitored and cared for throughout the journey.
Kavi has a calm and steady nature, much like his father Upali, while Ashoka, who is a month younger than Kavi, is confident, playful, and a very quick learner. “The transfer went very smoothly, with both elephants arriving safely and settling into their new surroundings nicely, which is a credit to all involved.” Said Sydney Zoo, Managing Director, Jake Burgess.
“This is a proud moment for the NEW Sydney Zoo as we take part in important regional breeding programs and conservation for Asian Elephants. The elephants are an important addition for Sydney Zoo to connect people with animals to create a sustainable future for wildlife”
Asian Elephants can be found across South East Asia, and there are fewer than 50,000 remaining in the wild with their population rapidly decreasing. Moves across the globe like this are essential to enhance global genetic diversity and provide an insurance population for endangered Asian Elephants. Kavi and Ashoka will act as advocates for the conservation of their species.
The bulls have joined the NEW Sydney Zoo’s resident female Asian Elephant Saigon, who immediately showed great interest in the newcomers. “Elephants are social species and thrive from close relationships they have with one another. Before arriving to Sydney Zoo, Saigon had lived alone for over a decade, so It was important for us to reunite her with her own species and give her the opportunity to form a new social group and become a matriarch.” Said General Manager Life Sciences, Mauritz Basson.
Guests are invited to watch Kavi and Ashoka as they explore their new habitat at the NEW Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney.