Wuhan Zoo works to build home for new Elephant family

By Liu Kun and Zhou Huiying | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-16 18:27
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A breeder takes care of the elephant calf at the Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The Wuhan Zoo in Wuhan, Hubei province recently published an advertisement for accepting submissions for names for their new elephant calf.

Once a name is selected, the winner will receive a free trip to the zoo and cultural and creative products, the zoo said.

Born on June 26, 2022, the male elephant marked the first time that the zoo successfully bred an African elephant.

The calf's father, named A Hai, and his mother, named A Nan, came to Wuhan in 1997 from Hainan province. Both of them grew up together at the zoo and are now 27 years old.

In 2017, breeders at the zoo began to study the breeding habits of African elephants in order to help them develop a relationship.

Changes were made to the elephants' enclosure and diet to simulate their natural environment so that the elephants would be healthy and comfortable.

Then the breeders made full use of scientific means to monitor the exercise and physical conditions of the two elephants.

In September 2020, A Nan got pregnant and after a 22-month pregnancy period, gave birth to the calf at the zoo.

The reconstructed African elephant pavilion has two inner areas and two outer exhibition areas. The exhibition areas have trees and grass, as well as sand piles and mud pits.

"It is a specifically designed project that deliberately simulates the native African environment," said Huang Yan, the chief designer of the park. "Sand bathing and mud bathing are favorite activities for African elephants, which can help them clean their skin."

"The stone pit and two larger stones are specially customized to help the elephants relieve itchy skin," he added.

"The African elephants love their new home, especially the new calf, who loves to roll in the mud," said their breeder Li Wanli. "We check the area daily to ensure the most comfortable environment."

Currently, the zoo has suspended its business to undergo renovations and it is expected to reopen at the end of the year once they are completed.

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