North Carolina Zoo Achieves Goal of Forming Five Elephant Herd to Encourage Breading, Socialization,Posted on 07/26/16
ASHEBORO, NC – The North Carolina Zoo has experienced another first for the park. As part of a long time goal for their African elephant breeding program, the four females have been successfully integrated together and are now spending quality time with one of the bulls, 41-year-old Csar. Progress has already been made toward introducing the cows to the other bull, Artie. The bulls have been in with select cows and the cows have been housed in various combinations with each other. However, building a herd requires careful planning and astute behavioral observations, especially when all of the elephants come from varying backgrounds and different facilities.
“Creating social opportunities for our elephants better replicates the opportunities they would have in the wild,” says N.C. Zoo director Pat Simmons. “Being part of a herd allows for a multitude of group interactions, including breeding, that stimulates these intelligent animals allowing them to lead fuller lives.”
Although many people believe that bull elephants live alone in the wild, the truth is all elephants are highly social and African bulls congregate together quite often in bachelor groups when they are not joining female herds for breeding. By providing these varying social opportunities, as would be found in the wild, the Zoo hopes to stimulate breeding that will result in calves to build a sustainable, multi-generational herd.
The benefits of social opportunity are part of the Zoo’s holistic elephant management program. This also includes providing more choice and control to the elephants, as well as a complex environment, proper nutrition, excellent veterinary care and expert behavioral management. The program is designed to maximize the elephants’ mental and physical well-being and the Zoo’s research team utilizes student interns to help collect behavioral observations that allow the elephant staff to make informed management decisions.
With all six elephants, including two impressive bulls visible in their natural habitat exhibits most days, guests can come and enjoy seeing elephants being elephants like nowhere else in this part of the country.
About the North Carolina Zoo
The North Carolina Zoo provides an experience like no other zoo anywhere. With five miles of exhibits, nearly 2,000 animals and 52,000 plants it is the largest natural habitat zoo in the world and an international leader in wildlife conservation.
Find yourself surrounded by some of Africa’s giants including elephants, rhinos, and giraffes; share the love of gorillas with Mosuba and his six-member troop; polar bears Nikita and Anana take polar plunges every day at the Rocky Coast Exhibit; or join in the fun at the mud café in the Kidzone.
Located in center of the state in Asheboro, it is convenient to visit from anywhere in North Carolina. The North Carolina Zoo welcomes nearly 750,000 guests each year. Plan your adventure at www.nczoo.org.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources