26 year old Shaka joins 2 younger bulls housed in Noah’s Ark’s 20 acre elephant eden to form the UK’s first African elephant bull facility.
The African bull elephant called ‘Shaka’ from Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm on Friday 13th April. Shaka was successfully transferred to Noah’s Ark’s 20 acre elephant eden with a state-of-the-art elephant house, deep sand beds, hot showers, built-in training walls and 24 hour CCTV monitoring.
The transfer of Shaka has been organised by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for African elephants as part of an initiative to form the UK’s first African elephant bachelor group. African elephants are vulnerable to extinction and as a result breeding within zoos is carefully coordinated.
Dr Harald Schwammer, Vice Director at Vienna Zoo said “Shaka is a calm and playful elephant who loves his food. We are very happy to be working with Noah’s Ark again which has one of the biggest elephant facilities available in the EEP.”
26 year old Shaka is joining two young bulls, 9-year-old M’Changa and 12-year-old Janu. Male elephants will naturally group together with other solitary males to form bachelor groups. These bachelor groupings are important for young bulls to learn social skills and new behaviours from the older males. Noah’s Ark is hoping that Shaka will act as a dominant bull for M’Changa and Janu to learn from.
Sandra de Rek, head elephant keeper at Noah’s Ark said “We are so proud to house the African elephant bachelor group for the EEP. It will be great for the public to witness the natural and playful behaviour of a bachelor group of elephants.”
Shaka will spend some time in a separate part of the enclosure from the other elephants to allow him to settle into his surroundings. After this, experienced keepers will start the slow introduction process of the elephants, starting with just seeing and smelling each other.
Visitors to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will be able to see M’Changa and Janu as usual. Viewing of Shaka will be limited during the first few days to give him time to settle into his new home in peace.
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