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Australian and ( NZ) Elephants news and discussion

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Jambo, 20 Sep 2018.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    That sounds like a good plan. I hope they don’t hold off too long on breeding Mali, given that she’s now nine years old.

    Another possibility is that Melbourne might split their herd (like Taronga did), with half the female herd going to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. The logical split would be Mek Kapah, Dokkoon and Mali; and Kulab and Num Oi. While the group of three elephants is larger, it’s probably the one that should remain at Melbourne Zoo as it’s the familiar environment of Mek Kapah; Mali is popular amongst Melbourne Zoo fans; and the need to breed Kulab and Num Oi (neither of which have relatives in the region) is greater and will require more space i.e. an open range zoo. They could breed at least twice each, with male calves accommodated in a bachelor herd at Werribee; and female calves remaining with Kulab and Num Oi. Man Jai could be the breeding bull at Werribee; while Melbourne Zoo import Putra Mas from Perth.

    It will be interesting to see what elephants the new Sydney Zoo will acquire. If I had to take a guess, I’d say Luk Chai and Pathi Harn at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The new Sydney Zoo doesn’t appear to have huge facilities for elephants and would probably be well suited to a pair of young bachelor bulls; who are currently in little to no demand for breeding in the immediate future.
     
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  2. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a great plan! :)

    Like MRJ said, Zoos Victoria are keen to move their Asian Elephants to Werribee, but the only problem is money. If they did find the money to build the facilities, it would be likely that Melbourne would split the herd, just like Taronga did. They spent quite a lot of money to build the Trail of the Elephants in 2006; and if the elephants do move, they have no species to put in the exhibits. It would also be quite costly to demolish the exhibits, and build new exhibits there.

    @Zoofan15 , I agree with you that the logical split would be Mek Kapah, Dokkon, and Mali; and Num-Oi, Kulab, and Man-Jai. Mek Kapah, Dokkon and Mali should stay at Melbourne because, Mek Kapah is elderly, and is very familiar with the Melbourne zoo Environment, so may struggle with the move; and as you said @Zoofan15 , Num-oi and Kulab need to breed more, so need more space, which Werribee should offer.

    If Man-Jai was to move to Werribee, Putra Mas could be imported to Melbourne to breed with the cows, as he would not pose a risk to any of the elephants at Melbourne, via EEHV. It will be interesting to see how the cows react to a male that mates them naturally. I’ve heard from keepers at Melbourne, that Man-Jai is starting to show sexual interest in Num-Oi and his sister, Mali.

    Luk-Chai and Pathi Harn aren’t really in demand for breeding in the region yet. They could therotically be sent to the Sydney zoo for holding, but if they want a breeding group, Man-Jai, Kulab and Num-Oi could be sent. What do you think?
     
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  3. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    I agree this is a possibility but really, really, hope this isn't the case. With males being the obvious exception, "herd splitting" amongst established elephant families is ethically questionable. Its not arguably in the animals best interests in any form.

    I believe Mek Kappah is only in her mid 40's. There is no reason to think she wouldn't be perfectly happy moving. This whole idea about older elephants being stressed moving is a PR excuse zoos use all wound the world to justify keeping their elephants in solitary situations or urban spaces. All around the world elderly elephants are moved all the time to great success. For examples close to home lets look at Burma, Gigi, Arna and Heman - who were all moved to Dubbo in quite advanced age (and a lot further than the 40min drive distance from Melbourne to Werribee mind you) or the Bullen's elephants who moved around the country in the circus, then to Australia Zoo. Elephants cope fine with moving. I remember when the new Thai elephants arrived in Sydney they moved Heman and Burma to Dubbo. Whilst I was happy the animals would have more space, I found it appalling that these animals who had been treated so poorly over the decades at Taronga, where not even given the opportunity to integrate with the Thai elephants. Taronga said they were "too old" to breed and be integrated but as it turned out, Heman was perfectly fertile and Burma later integrated with some circus elephants. Even with the younger cows kept seperate she no doubt benefits from their presence as shown by her apparent interest in one of the calves. Taronga had no idea how their older animals would act with the new Thai elephants. They just knew they wanted to manage the new ones in free contact and they didn't want a bull and a known-to-be-dangerous cow to worry about!

    I've observed the the three younger Melbourne cows quite persistently try to get Bong Su to mount them. The problem was Bong Su, who was unfortunately useless at it. Its one of the reasons why I always felt logic should have seen Melbourne switch bulls with Perth.

    I feel there is usually just two voices in the argument about elephants in zoos: Those arguing against elephants in captivity and those arguing for the status quo. Few voices with the sensible argument that we keep elephant only in open range zoos are heard. Thats why I think its important to constantly send a message to zoos that there are those of us who don't want them to cease to exist, but see through the excuses.
     
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  4. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    One thing I can guarantee you is that elephants have no future at.Melbourne Zoo. If you want to find out why read Jenny Gray’s book on zoo animal welfare (Jenny is Zoos Vic CEO). And as I said.the $80 million budget includes new exhibits at Melbourne to replace the elephants.
     
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  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    You make an excellent point about what Melbourne Zoo have already invested into their elephant facilities; and the expense of redeveloping this area into something else. Herd splits occur naturally in the wild (and as long as family lines are kept together); there’s no reason why this couldn’t be done in a captive setting. In addition to the reasons we have identified, the strongest friendships are between Mek Kapah and Dokoon; and Kulab and Num Oi, so the split would even reflect that.

    I’m not surprised to hear of Man Jai’s growing interest towards the females; much like Pathi Harn at Taronga, who was unusually precocious in his development. Do you know why he favours Num Oi? Is it just a personality thing, or is she smaller (easier to attempt mating with), than the other adult females?

    I think sending Man Jai, Kulab and Num Oi to the new Sydney Zoo is an excellent idea. Any facilities at Werribee are clearly a long way off; and this could provide a near immediate resolution to Melbourne’s problem; and allow all four females the opportunity to breed (combined with the import of Putra Mas).
     
  6. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Again I would point to Jenny Grey's book. It is pretty clear she sees no place in urban zoos for elephants. The idea she would approve transfer of animals from Melbourne to what? at Sydney Zoo seems unlikely.
     
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  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    What elephants do you suppose the new Sydney Zoo will receive @MRJ?
     
  8. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Sorry no idea, although I believe they have them arranged.
     
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  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I’ve heard speculation (with speculation being the operative word) it could be African elephants; though I would be highly surprised when the region is solely focussed on Asian elephants and there are surplus bulls available.

    That said, it’d be great to see Monarto Zoo acquire a herd of African elephant (not sure if that’s still on the cards?) and the new Sydney Zoo support them as an additional holder.
     
  10. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    Personally I believe it would be a m8stake to bringb8n african elephants when we really need more zoos to take Asians. The cows should be bred more regularly and from this discussion it seems the reason the zooscarent is because of lack of space. Effectively there are only two zoos 8nvolved in the program. Monarto needs to get on board and a breeding group at werribee. What does anyone think of my earlier suggestion of a mega fauna devoted place.
     
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  11. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    What exhibits are they planning to build to replace the elephants at Melbourne?
     
  12. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    I’m not sure why Man Jai is quite fond of Num-Oi; but Num-Oi was (and is) quite close to all the calves that were born at Melbourne, so it may just be that they have a pretty strong bond. :cool:
     
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  13. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I do not work for Zoos Vic and am not privy to their plans. I would hope they would go back and look at David Hancocks original masterplan for the area, mind you that is going back 30 years or more.
     
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  14. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Num Oi sounds like Tang Mo at Taronga Zoo. I guess they’re both in the same boat of being the youngest adult females in their respective herds; and both being without a calf (Tang Mo through infertility; Num Oi through circumstance and misfortune). The maternal energy they’d put into their own calves (if they had them) is therefore refocused onto the other calves in the herd. Mek Kapah is also without a calf; but as matriarch, has enough responsibilities and hasn’t the same energy/enthusiasm for the calves’ games as a young female like Num Oi.
     
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  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I’ll admit to not knowing who David Hancocks was; but after some brief research, found this interview with him which was quite insightful:

    A Critical Look at the Future of Zoos--An Interview with David Hancocks

    I don’t know what his original master plan from the 1980s entailed but he favours the concept of landscape immersion in this 2012 article:

    “The basic essence of landscape immersion was that the animals should be immersed in landscapes that represented as closely as possible their natural habitats, and that the human visitors should also be immersed in the same replicated habitat, experiencing it with all their senses.”

    He also makes a valid point about the inability of zoos to manage long term a sustainable population of certain species (I can think of many examples of cats, primates etc):

    “Interestingly, small animals that have from time to time found their way into zoo collections, from small birds and mammals to amphibians and reptiles, usually due to a special interest by one individual, have invariably simply disappeared from zoos: they once had them in their collections, but proved incapable of managing a sustainable population or even making any serious attempts to do so.”
     
  16. MRJ

    MRJ Well-Known Member

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    On reflection I should probably have said "20 to 30 years ago". Hancocks certainly was a strong advocate of habitat and geographically based immersive exhibits. He once described all British zoos as "menageries" because they largely consisted random exhibits with no theme.

    His masterplan (and I am working from memory) divided Melbourne Zoo into several habitat regions, rainforest, savanna coast etc, and these were further divided into geographic areas. The rainforest was to include the entire section from the southern boundary to the Great Flight Aviary, and across from the main drive to the western boundary (excluding works areas). The area was to be divided into African, Asian, South American and Australasian areas as well as a tropical house.

    The first and probably purest exhibit associated with this plan was the gorilla exhibit, to which can be added the pygmy hippo and mandrill exhibits. The "treetops" exhibits were to be incorporated for African rainforest primates, while the first and last exhibit were converted into aviaries for African grey parrots and lovebirds. By the way the treetops and the old great ape exhibits were the last constructed for a previous, taxonomical based master plan. The space between these two exhibit groups was to be filled with more primate exhibits, which would have given Melbourne a huge primate collection.

    To get back to the thread, there was also a plan at this time to move all elephants from Melbourne, Taronga and Adelaide to a "retirement" facility that Zoos SA had built at Monarto for this purpose. Before this plan was implemented there was a change of leadership at both Melbourne and Taronga and both decided to keep elephants meaning only Adelaide's elephant ended up at Monarto. Obviously this created a problem - better elephant accomodation was needed, and so the current exhibit constructed. While the design is immersive, it's huge footprint really put an end to any chance of Hancocks masterplan being further implemented.
     
  17. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I would yet advocate going back to the original David Hancock's masterplan project plannings. Restricting the city zoos to rainforest environments is the way forward and move out the breeding elephant exhibits to the outback open range facilities of each.
     
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  18. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    These exhibits (plus later the tigers and otters) are still to this day the best at the zoo. particularly the gorilla exhibit which is the most naturalistic I have ever seen. Another part of the Hancocks plan if I recall was the big cat alley, primate islands and bear exhibit was to become a "temperate" zone for the zoos cold climate animals like red pandas, brown bears, snow leopards etc. Unfortunately this became the awful "carnivores" trail.
     
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  19. KarenH

    KarenH Member

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    Man Jai was the calf born a few days after Numoi's own calf, Sanook tragically passed away.
    I believe Man Jai and Dokkoon helped Numoi with her grief.
    Man Jai and Numoi have always shared a particularly close bond.
     
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  20. Elephantelephant

    Elephantelephant Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be better to bring Putra Mas to Melbourne already now. Permai could then leave after Tricia's death. Perhaps it would be Sydney.
     
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