Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Luk Chai and Thong Dee

Taronga Western Plains Zoo will welcome four Asian Elephants from Taronga Zoo later this year, including mothers Porntip and Thong Dee along with their calves Pathi Harn and Luk Chai. 

“The decision came after lengthy deliberation and has been heavily influenced by the individuals within the herd and their relationships,” said Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s General Manager, Matthew Fuller.

 “The combination of individuals was decided to support the best interest of all the elephants, with male Asian Elephant, Gung to remain at Taronga Zoo to continue his role in the breeding program,”

“This is a really exciting time for Taronga Western Plains Zoo as we take up our role in the regional conservation and breeding program for Asian Elephants. Planning for the transportation of the four elephants is already underway. This will see the number of elephants at the Zoo grow to seven and allow visitors to see both younger and older elephants in one place,” said Matt.

The two females and the two young male elephants will stay together for some time when they arrive at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Their purpose-built new facility has been designed so the animals can move off into different areas independently in the future, which reflects what would happen in the wild.

“We’re very pleased with the progress of construction with fencing for two new paddocks almost complete and the new-state-of-the-art barn well underway.”

“The facility now taking shape has an elephant barn that is able to house different herd configurations and has been specifically designed for the long term needs of the herd,” said Matt.

The new elephant facility will feature a three stall barn alongside the Zoo’s current elephant barns, as well as two large new paddocks, pools, mud wallows and shade structures.

The redevelopment of the elephant facility is due for completion late 2014. The plan is for the Elephants from Taronga Zoo to arrive late 2014 or earlier 2015.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is currently home to three older elephants, two Asian Elephants and one African Elephant.