Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 10:50
A mini baby boom of maximum proportions is coming to the state’s zoos with NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman today announcing another elephant calf is on the way, this time to Taronga’s Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.
The announcement of Asian Elephant Thong Dee’s pregnancy came a month after Mr Speakman announced Taronga Zoo Sydney elephant Pak Boon was pregnant, with a calf due in April 2017. Thong Dee is due in November 2016.
“This is a very exciting time for the entire team at Taronga, with two elephants due within six months of each other,” Mr Speakman said.
“It will be the first time an elephant has been born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and demonstrates the success of Australia’s conservation breeding program.”
Deputy Premier and Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said Taronga Western Plains Zoo was a major tourism drawcard for regional NSW, presenting wildlife in an engaging and educational way.
“A baby elephant on the way is the perfect reason for visitors from other parts of the state to pack their trunks and head to the world-class Taronga Western Plains Zoo.”
The announcement also marked the one-year anniversary of the transfer of four Asian Elephants, Thong Dee, Porntip, Luk Chai and Pathi Harn from Taronga Zoo Sydney to Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Director Matthew Fuller said a conservation breeding program run across NSW and Victoria had been tremendously successful with three calves already born at Taronga Zoo Sydney and four at Melbourne Zoo.
“The program’s milestones have included bringing the elephants from Thailand to Australia, establishing a viable breeding program and developing conservation education and in situ projects with elephants across Asia,” Mr Fuller said.
World conservation agencies estimate there are as few as 33,000 elephants left in Asia. At the current rate of decline, Asian elephants could be extinct in the wild within 20 years.
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