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Smithsonian National Zoo Kandula departs

Discussion in 'United States' started by dcpandafan, 20 Oct 2015.

  1. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    Today one of the best chapters in the National zoos history has sadly come to an end. Kandula the zoos soon to be 14 year old Asian Elephant, has started his journey to the Oklahoma city zoo where both zoos and the AZA are hoping he can breed their and have some kids of his own.

    Kandula was born at the zoo on November 25, 2001. His mother is Shanti the youngest of the three females the zoo had at the time.

    Kandula will be missed but he has a bright future and hopefully one day he'll be a dad.


    Zoos facebook.

    Here's a Q&A with curator Tony Barthel.

    http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/AsianElephants/News/kandula-new-chapter.cfm

    I know Nisha posted this above but this is the zoos statement and some writing from me.
     
  2. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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    Kandula will now be able to grow into the bull he is meant to be. I hope that he fathers a calf or three and that somehow he returns to the Smithsonian someday.
     
  3. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

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    I am an adult of some mental capacity. I know how endangered Asian elephants are both n the wild and in North American zoos. Intellectually at least, I know how vital it is for zoos to cooperate under a Species Survival Plan for the best chance to reverse their declining numbers. I know I should be focusing on how enriching Kandula's new life will be for him. Consciously, I know all of this. But try telling my heart.

    The fact is that Kandula was much more to us than merely the first elephant conceived of and born after AI. He was more than the stellar research subject who proved that elephants have not only raw intelligence, but problem-solving skills as well. Kandula was an irresistable ambassador for people to get to know Asian elephants and learn firsthand why they should be saved. But gosh darn it, the most incredible thing he did was wrap that cute trunk through our heartstrings and dare us to resist his charms. He had nothing short of personality, verve, sass, swag. With other animals, we might be anthropomorphising, but face it, even Ray Charles could see Kandula's undoubted and dramatic presence.

    Perhaps it was seeing his personality that brought us the biggest understanding. I've seen more than a few long-time friends leave the zoo, usually in death: the great sea lion Maureen, lioness Lusaka, pandas Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, the beautiful Sumatran mother-daughter tiger team of Kerinci and Soyono, Happy the hippo and his mother Arusha. These were all beloved zoo friends for decades, yet not even their losses made me feel what I do today about Kandula. What was it about Kandula that was different?

    The difference, I realize for the first time, is that word "personality." A unique expression of a person. Many courts worldwide have affirmed that whales and elephants are not merely animals, but "non-human persons." Kandula was able to elicit emotion and feeling from us in a far more deeply-engaging way because of his personal connection, his personality, his very person-hood. I realize today--I'm much more upset by his departure than i ever dreamed possible--what the phrase "non-human person" really means. It means Kandula. And why he was so unique and special to us. His picture could be beside this term in the dictionary, and his face would say it all. Elephants aren't merely animals; they're sentient beings with the ability to have interpersonal, emotional relationships. He's had our hearts wrapped up in that amazing trunk since it was only a foot long. We've come to love him, because he's something quite special--as the one who helped fill the void left by his sister Kumari, as the first successful AI, as a problem-solving genius, and as our collective non-human person. He was really something.

    Until today, I never quite realized how complex my feelings were for him. One day he was a showman demonstrating all he knew, one day a brat demanding to be attended to faster or with more rewards, every day a radiant personality shining to be seen. It's a great loss; my life has been so much richer sharing his company for almost 14 years. The Scarecrow was new to the world of emotion but perfectly summed up what it's like to have so loved and lost: "Now I know I have a heart--because it's breaking."
     
  4. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    Isn't it sad to think that to most zoo visitors Kandula is just an elephant in a zoo? They probably don't realize they aren't just looking at an elephant but they're looking at in my words one of the smartest elephants in captivity today. I understand elephants are one of the smartest animals on earth but I don't know what it is but Kandula always seemed different to me. It always seemed to me Kandula wasn't an elephant but another being in an elephant body like you said a "non human person" to me I think fits Kandula the best it honestly really describes him well. I hope the staff and visitors in Oklahoma know that Kandula is one special elephant and they are lucky to have him.
     
  5. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    AmbikaFan I loved reading your message about Kandula
     
  6. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    I loved it to. It was meaningful and it had a lot of heart if that makes sense idk i'm 14 don't judge me.

    But lets be honest he cheated a bit he's an English professor :D.
     
  7. ZooElephantsMan

    ZooElephantsMan Well-Known Member

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    :) Lol I am 15 and I won't judge you.
     
  8. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

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    Thank you both. Just needed to grieve a bit. It's relatively stupid, but I really wish right now that the zoo had issued a T-shirt celebrating Kandula, the way they did Ambika when she turned 60 or 65. At least there would be something tangible to remember him with. He seems like a mere idea now, something intangible that exists only in memory.

    BTW, I'm 54 and I'm a she! lol I'm sure there are crusty older male posters out there who dismissed my emotional outpouring as feminine sentiment. You both seem like fellows to me, but sensitive souls, not macho men. Real men can clearly love Kandula too. :)
     
  9. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

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    OMG! I meant the Tin Man, not the Scarecrow!!!
     
  10. wensleydale

    wensleydale Well-Known Member

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  11. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    Well this is nice to know since I always assumed you were a he.
     
  12. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    A male elephant in D.C. heads to Okla. zoo reeling from death of a female


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/loca...d0c046-7739-11e5-bc80-9091021aeb69_story.html
     
  13. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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  14. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

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    This is so sad. Calvin was pretty special too, especially for all he gave Europe with his years in Hannover and Ostrava. It's so hard to believe that a virus could have had such lasting repercussions. I wonder if he had some strain of EEHV? It started becoming an issue in the mid-80s; I wonder if he dodged a bigger bullet and was lucky to have even lived?

    This may seem to some like a minor point, but Calvin wasn't an Indian elephant. He was a Sri Lankan elephant, elephas maximus maimus. There are only 3,000-4,000 left in the world, about 10% of the total Asian population. His parents Kamala and Bandara came to Calgary as gifts from the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, just as Shanthi and Bozie did, around 1976. I've always wondered if it was a coincidence that these 4 alumna from Pennawala ended up together, especially in a North American population that's so heavily Indian/mainland Asia, elephant maximus indicus. The more I think about Calvin, what are the odds of him randomly being chosen as Shanthi's AI mate? Could it be that the SSP has--even amidst the dearth of Asian breeding males--attempted to keep some pure Sri Lankan elephant genepool going? That would be so foresighted, so wise, so amazing!

    This got me going. If a pure Sri Lankan was chosen as Sri Lankan Shanthi's sperm donor in 2001, and all these Sri Lankan girls have ended up here at NZP, could this be part of some special plan to make our zoo an elephas maximus maximus center in the US? After all, as a full sister of Calvin, Maharani is also a purebred Sri Lankan. With Indy not only Shanthi's first baby daddy but slated to arrive and be bred to Maharani, it would be interesting to know if he too is Sri Lankan?

    Well, I went to the SSP studbook, and it only says "Asia" with no more specific country of origin. However, it's very interesting that he was transferred to Syracuse only a month after 10-year-old (and suddenly of breeding age) Romani went to Syracuse--and Romani's origins are much more specific: "Central Sri Lanka." Could Indy have been intentionally paired with SL Romani--and then with SL Shanthi--to safeguard this sub-species? It is such a shame that NZP doesn't share things like this the way SD or other zoos would. This could possibly explain a lot of what have seemed to be odd choices in the recent development of its elephant program.

    Does anyone out there know if Indy is indeed from Sri Lanka? Does anyone out there know if NZP is part of some well-considered and consistent plan to safeguard/conserve the Sri Lankan sub-species?

    Only Asha's mother of the OKC lineage could have been from Sri Lanka, but knowing that there is a plan to try to preserve these beautiful creatures would certainly make Kandula's loss seem less random and more purposeful.
     
  15. dcpandafan

    dcpandafan Well-Known Member

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    14 years ago today, kandula was born.

    Does anyone know how hes doing out in Oklahoma?