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Wednesday 14 November 2018

'It has been a truly remarkable year' - Elephants arrive two by two as Dublin zoo delivers baby boom

Dublin Zoo rhino
Dublin Zoo rhino

Alan O'Keeffe

Newly-born animals brought joy to staff and visitors at Dublin Zoo throughout 2017.

Over the past 12 months, the zoo has welcomed some of the natural world's biggest babies, including a southern white rhinoceros calf, two Asian elephant calves, an eastern bongo calf, and no less than three scimitar-horned oryx.

Dublin Zoo director Leo Oosterweghel said: "It has been a truly remarkable year for all of us here.

"We were delighted to welcome a total of 40 new animals to Dublin Zoo."

He said the scimitar-horned oryx is a species classified as extinct in the wild - the births of three of them were "wonderful".

Also celebrated was the birth of a healthy eastern bongo, a species which is classified as critically endangered.

The calf is the offspring of mother Nanyuki and father Hodari.

This was a particularly significant arrival for Dublin Zoo, as only between 75 and 140 eastern bongos exist in the wild. The eastern bongo is hunted in the wild for its horn and meat and its population is in rapid decline.

The two Asian elephant calves were born in March and May.

Bernhardine, the herd's matriarch, gave birth to a female calf on March 13.

Just two months later, on May 15, Yasmin gave birth to a male calf. This was the sixth elephant born at the zoo in less than three years.

The newborns bring the number in the elephant herd to 11, which includes father Upali, in the Kaziranga Forest Trail.

Both births were a significant success as part of the international breeding programme established to assist the survival of the Asian elephant.

"We are continuously reinvesting, building world-class habitats that closely reflect the animals' natural environments," Mr Oosterweghel said. "We are committed to offering a ­memorable day out."

Herald

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